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[P]
What Good is the Second Amendment?

By felixrayman in Op-Ed
Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:44:46 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Does the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States mean anything anymore? No.


A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Of all the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the right to bear arms is probably the most controversial. Many people who vocally protest the slightest violation of the First Amendment shy away from raising their voices against violations of the Second. And the defenders of the right to bear arms are often (not always) silent when the rest of the Bill of Rights is ignored. Members of the former group will attempt all manner of logical gymnastics to try to argue that the promise that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" really means that it is acceptable, even necessary, to infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

For example the ACLU, usually a champion of the Bill of Rights, refuses to defend Second Amendment rights. The ACLU argues that:
"We believe that the constitutional right to bear arms is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to maintain militias to assure their own freedom and security against the central government. In today's world, that idea is somewhat anachronistic and in any case would require weapons much more powerful than handguns or hunting rifles. The ACLU therefore believes that the Second Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to own guns or other weapons".
Here the ACLU concedes most of the argument, but claims that the idea of assuring freedom and security against a central government is "anachronistic". One wonders what the response of the ACLU would be to a law that agreed that the First Amendment originally provided for free speech, but that such a freedom was "anachronistic".

Their argument that handguns and hunting rifles, when employed by a large proportion of the population of the United States, would be insufficient to guarantee this freedom and security, makes a great argument to repeal laws against the possession of fully automatic weapons. If the ACLU had the courage of its convictions, it would make that argument.

It is not just civil libertarians that have refused to defend Second Amendment rights, the courts have completely abandoned them. For example, as detailed at bradycampaign.org:
"In the early 1980s, the Supreme Court addressed the Second Amendment issue again, after the town of Morton Grove, Illinois, passed an ordinance banning handguns (making certain reasonable exceptions for law enforcement, the military, and collectors). After the town was sued on Second Amendment grounds, the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that not only was the ordinance valid, but there was no individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment (Quillici v. Morton Grove) . In October 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of this ruling, allowing the lower court rulings to stand".
The important thing was not that the ban on handguns was upheld, but that the courts held there is NO right to bear arms inherent in the Constitution, and that the Supreme Court refused to reconsider the ruling. Other court decisions have followed the same course. For example, the same conclusion was reached by course in the case of U.S. v. Emerson:
"On March 30, 1999, U.S. District Judge for Northern Texas Sam R. Cummings restored a domestic abuser's firearms, citing the Second Amendment as guaranteeing an individual right to keep and bear arms. This decision flies in the face of years of precedence and jurisprudence and can only be viewed as a renegade decision. In his opinion, Judge Cummings was unable to follow usual judicial practice and cite legal precendents that undergird his decision because there are none. This ruling has been appealed and since that decision, two federal courts, including a higher Circuit court, have ruled that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms (Gillespie v. City of Indianapolis)".
These decisions rely on an interpretation of the words in the Second Amendment contrary to the definitions in use at the time it was written. The courts, as well as the ACLU, have tried to argue that by the word "milita", the founders meant only an organization such as the National Guard. This is obviously not the case, as the word used in the amendment is "people", not "states". The authors of the Constitution clearly knew the difference. The right is held by the people. In addition, there is extensive evidence detailing what the founders meant by the word "militia". An act of Congress from 1795 makes the definition explicit:
"That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act".
Even modern statutes explicitly allow for the example of such an unorganized militia.

In addition, state constitutions written at the same time make clear what the prevailing idea of the right was. Connecticut's read "Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state", Kentucky's read "the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned", and Massachusetts' read "The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence". There are many other slight variations on the above examples.

As a final example, some of the states that ratified the Constitution sent suggestions for ways to improve it. New Hampshire's suggested changes included the sentence "Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion". Again, there were other similar examples from other states.

Opponents of the right to bear arms have argued that the phrase "well regulated" allows for the limitation of the right to own firearms to official organizations. This ignores the fact that the phrase had different meanings at the time the Constitution was written than it does now. The phrase did not always mean "well controlled", as opponents of the right to bear arms try to argue. The phrase was often used to mean "in proper working order", as demonstrated by quotes from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the definition intended by the founders, and was used by them in that manner in other writings. For example, Alexander Hamilton wrote, in the Federalist Papers:
"The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss".
Another argument frequently made by opponents of the Bill of Rights is that if the right to bear arms is recognized, there would be nothing to prevent individuals from owning tanks, missiles, even nuclear weapons. A similar argument was made by the ACLU in one of the above links. The argument is a red herring - how does one "bear" a tank? the word arms as used by the founders referred specifically to weapons carried by hand such as rifles and pistols. Weapons such as cannons were referred to by the term "ordnance", later "ordinance". The Oregon Supreme court, in State v. Kessler, made the same point:
"[T]he term "arms" as used by the drafters of the constitutions probably was intended to include those weapons used by settlers for both personal and military defense. The term "arms" was not limited to firearms, but included several hand carried weapons commonly used for defense. The term "arms" would not have included cannon or other heavy ordinance not kept by militiamen or private citizens"
As a final question, what did the founders mean by a free state? Presumably not a state where rights can be arbitrarily taken away because someone decided they were "anachronistic".

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What Good is the Second Amendment? | 428 comments (353 topical, 75 editorial, 2 hidden)
Oh, it means something! (2.73 / 19) (#3)
by theElectron on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 08:53:17 PM EST

The Second Amendment as a defense against the tyranny of government is effectively dead, yes. However, the Second Amendment is seeing a tremendous resurgence in "popularity" with renewed interest in the right to keep and bears as a means of personal protection. Prior to 1985, there were only a very small handful of states in which your average citizen could get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Today, there are about 35 such "shall issue" states in which pretty much anyone without any history of violent crime or mental instability can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The last 10 years or so (primarily after Clinton's '94 gun ban) have seen a true explosion of new gun owners who are truly concerned about government interference with the right to keep and bear arms (RKBA). The days of apathetic gun-owning hunters are dwindling, you average gun owner nowadays is a much more politically aware and involved citizen interested in firearms and self-defense as a *civil right*. For a long time anti-gunners relied on the "hunter" mentality--people who thought "as long as I've got my shotgun and deer rifle, I don't care what the gubmint does." Thanks to Clinton, however, a lot of these gun owners have gotten off their asses. Clinton made it clear he didn't want to just ban machineguns and cheap pistols--he was coming for everything. And nowadays when every politician becomes an avid hunter a few months before every election and promises they're just after "assault rifles" and handguns, not hunting rifles--it doesn't flush anymore.

Looking ahead, I see the proliferation of "shall issue" concealed carry legislation as tremendous driving force for a stronger second amendment. So while the second amendment as a defense against government tyranny is severely compromised, the increased support that the second ammendment is seeing on other fronts may be enough to revive it.

And the whole collective right argument is really a dying gasp from an entrenched anti-gun established. The fact is a very large majority of Americans recognize the Second Amendment, (like the first, third, fourth, fifth, etc.) as a an individual *civil right*.

--
Join the NRA!

NRA (none / 2) (#280)
by kurioszyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:53:06 PM EST

I wish NRA was a bit more decisive in their opposition to gun grabbers.

Proclimaing "From my cold, dead hands" while holding a 19th century musket strikes me as "politically correct" gesture.
If he had said that while holding say AK-47 , it would mean something ...

[ Parent ]

Well, Fair's Fair Then (none / 1) (#304)
by czolgosz on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 08:59:42 PM EST

Based on what you've said, would you support a plan to issue an M16 to each adult Iraqi, as a means of encouraging the development of American-style democracy there?

Or are you going to say that they're somehow "different"?


Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
Don't be an idiot. (none / 1) (#335)
by sllort on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:14:50 PM EST

The Constitution doesn't dictate that the government distribute free firearms. Iraqis are currently allowed to privately possess, buy, and sell fully automatic AK-47's, in fact there are at least two open air gun markets in downtown Baghdad.

This Iraqi freedom to buy assault weapons is not shared by the families of the occupying American soldiers back home.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Idiot (none / 0) (#384)
by czolgosz on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 12:25:46 PM EST

OK, I won't be an idiot. And you try to refrain from name-calling.
The Constitution doesn't dictate that the government distribute free firearms. Iraqis are currently allowed to privately possess, buy, and sell fully automatic AK-47's, in fact there are at least two open air gun markets in downtown Baghdad.
1. The States used to do exactly that, to support the "well-regulated militias" that some posters here insist are something else than what they were. Many countries that maintain militias (Switzerland, for one) still do. They issue you with a gun and require you to keep it operational. So it was not a far-fetched suggestion.

2. Anyway, where in my post do I say that we'd have to do it? Say, the Iraqi government does it instead.

3. My underlying point is that you can't have it both ways. If Iraqis all have automatic weapons and they're useless in forcing the occupation troops to leave, then the argument that they provide an effective defense against a hostile government is nothing but bullshit. On the other hand, if we choose to restrict Iraqis' freedom to possess weapons, then it's evidence that we're not interested in granting them the same democratic freedoms that we find so essential. Unless you really believe the lie that they want us to stay forever.

4. I'm curious-- does anyone know if the weapons souqs are still doing business now in Iraq? Or have they been shut down?


Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
A sixty-five-year-old dying gasp? (none / 1) (#319)
by RaveX on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 06:05:07 AM EST

And the whole collective right argument is really a dying gasp from an entrenched anti-gun established.

You mean... a dying gasp dating from 1939, United States v. Miller, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the "Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.'" In that case, it was established that bearing arms outside the venue of a well-regulated militia is not protected under the Second Amendment. That must be the dying gasp you're talking about, the Supreme Court precedent that, if it allows for individual rights, does so only in the context of a well-regulated militia. Or maybe... how the Supreme Court last year denied certiorari in Silveira v. Lockyear, letting stand the Ninth Circuit's decision that the Second Amendment protects a collective right, but not an individual one. Is that the dying gasp of which you speak?

I should also mention that your understanding of the Second Amendment seems to be extremely flawed in other respects, as well. Let's start from the beginning:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Note how the amendment doesn't simply read "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." There's that other part, that first part, that was included. Let's just assume for a moment that it was... included for a reason? Like... to state for what purpose citizens had a right to keep and bear arms? Not for hunting, not for personal protection... only within the context of a well-regulated militia, with the purpose of protecting the security of the State.

Now here's my disclaimer: I agree that hunting and personal protection are valid reasons for owning firearms. I have firearms for those very purposes in my own home. Let's not kid ourselves, though. The Second Amendment, if you look at the case history, has not even been extended to act as a restraint on state action (the Supreme Court decided over a hundred years ago that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states, and it has not revisited the issue since)-- it only affects Federal legislation, and only if that legislation interferes with the functioning of a well-regulated militia.

This should explain to you why the NRA trots around the Second Amendment (conveniently leaving out the dependent clause that was held to be critical by the Supreme Court), but as you'll notice, the NRA has never, not once, never brought a challenge to a Federal law under the Second Amendment. When it challenged the "Clinton gun ban," as you call it, it did so under a host of legal technicalities (all thrown out), but never once attempted to argue Second Amendment protection for these firearms.

In short, it doesn't matter that you think that "the increased support that the second ammendment is seeing on other fronts may be enough to revive it." The Second Amendment doesn't say a thing about those other fronts, and even the NRA knows it.

Further, I don't really understand your scaremongering. Clinton wasn't "coming for everything." A Colt AR-15 is hardly a sporting or personal defense weapon (the DC sniper used a Bushmaster XM-15, which is modeled after the AR-15), neither is a TEC-9 (Columbine), or a Steyr AUG (designed as a fully-automatic counter-sniper weapon), or any other gun covered in the ban.

I can still go out and buy myself a nice SIG-Sauer P220 without a problem. There's a pretty good reason for legislation banning assault rifles and cheap handguns, and holding dealers and distributors responsible for patterns of gross negligence. 57 percent of guns recovered from crime scenes originate from only 1 percent of dealers. That means, on one hand, that the other 99 percent of dealers are probably doing pretty legitimate business. But on the other, it indicates that we should be doing something about that 1 percent, not affording them liability protection like the current Congress is attempting to do. Unfortunately, the NRA fights any attempt to pass gun legislation, even reasonable limitations that could make our streets a lot safer while still protecting the right of individuals like you and me to keep and bear arms.
---
The Reconstruction
[ Parent ]

Flaw in your argument... (none / 0) (#322)
by Elkor on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 10:02:24 AM EST

and it's a subtle grammatical argument that I'm sure could be argued several ways. The word "state" is not capitalized in the second amendment. The framers of the constitution were not (IMO) referring to a Free State as in the geographic boundaries overseen by a government. Rather, they refered to the state (synonym: condition) of being free as a people. link As such, any restrictions on an individual's right to keep and bear arms would violate the second amendment.
"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Capitalization of "state" (none / 0) (#326)
by shinshin on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 11:23:13 AM EST

I don't give much of a damn either way on the gun argument, but the lack of capitalization of the word "state" doesn't hold up. The Constitution often is inconsistent in it's capitalization of the word, but in many cases, lower-case "state" is certainly referring to our regional governments. E.g., from Article I, Section 2:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.


____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
*counter-shrug* (none / 0) (#332)
by Elkor on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 01:50:05 PM EST

The word has two meanings, which is why I commented that it could be a debate of linguistics to determine what it meant. IANAL
"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Interesting interpretation (none / 0) (#350)
by RaveX on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 06:03:49 PM EST

Arguments about capitalization aside, if we accept your interpretation of the word "state," we interpret the dependent clause as stating:

"A well regulated militia is necessary to the security of the condition of being free."

While this would be the first time the security of the state was interpreted in such a manner, we can overlook this and move on to the bigger point: that even with this interpretation, the emphasis is placed on a well-regulated militia. Thus, the right to keep and bear arms still only makes sense within the context of a well-regulated militia.
---
The Reconstruction
[ Parent ]

Agreed. (none / 0) (#324)
by sllort on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 10:25:06 AM EST

only within the context of a well-regulated militia, with the purpose of protecting the security of the State.

Agreed. Of course, the Milita Act of 1792 defines a militia as any white male citizen of the United States, so as long as you're following the definition (and extending it to all citizens via the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment) then we're in complete agreement - the Second Amendment only gaurauntees a right for all citizens to bear arms.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Cute misinterpretation (none / 0) (#348)
by RaveX on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 05:50:15 PM EST

The Militia Act of 1792 doesn't define a militia as "any white male citizen of the United States." What it says is:
"...each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside..."
This means that each "white male citizen..." shall be enrolled in the militia by the commanding officer, unless he recieves an exception. It's providing for a draft, not defining each individual as a militia.

Have you been enrolled? If not, you're not in a militia, let alone yourself a militia-- and the Supreme Court agrees. It's nice that you think "any white male citizen of the United States" constitutes a militia, let alone a "well regulated militia," but if that were the case, Miller would have been decided differently. I can only assume that you either haven't read the Militia Act of 1792, don't understand it, or are hoping that nobody else reads it or understands it.

It's a moot point anyway, since the Militia Act of 1903 (the Dick Act) repealed the Militia Act of 1792 and clearly provided for a National Guard and a draft (despite countless attempts to re-interpret it).
---
The Reconstruction
[ Parent ]

Not the draft, registering for the draft (none / 2) (#354)
by felixrayman on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 08:43:41 PM EST

Have you been enrolled? If not, you're not in a militia

It's called registering for the draft and most men in America over the age of 18 have done it.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Yes, I am registered for the draft NT (none / 1) (#365)
by sllort on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 01:06:45 PM EST


--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Technology has made personal guns unnecessary. (1.10 / 28) (#4)
by elenchos on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:06:31 PM EST

Not a day goes by that I don't hear of a new and even better penis enlargement procedure. And I mean no pain, no pills, all in the privacy of your own home! The results are fast and amazing!

Now don't laugh and don't get mad. You can even keep up this whole gun nut trip for appearances if you want, but between you and me, why not quietly go and grow a bigger dick? I bet you any amount of money once you've done that you will forget all about silly guns and the silly Second Amendment. Probably sell the truck too.

Adequacy.org

Mr. elenchos (2.70 / 10) (#7)
by theElectron on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:25:19 PM EST

I seem to recall we've had this discussion before. I put you in your place then, and it seems I'll have to do it again.

Hoplophobes such as yourself have a fixation with penises and penis size that is positively Freudian. I hear it all the time, and I've still yet to make sense of it.

I keep guns for a number of reasons, some which include recreation and self-defense (that being the most worthwhile, in my opinion). Apparently this doesn't apply to you, as if you're attacked I suppose you can just drop your pants and whip it out, and while your would-be attacker's getting an eyeful you can just run away? Is that it?

Anyway, it seems you think your fear of firearms makes you better than me (and I have no problem with you thinking that). So just go bask in your own superiority (and large penis?) and keep your goddamn hands of my guns. Ok? Thanks so much.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

Fear (2.25 / 4) (#32)
by Tyler Durden on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:12:41 AM EST

I suppose it's better to be afraid of guns, than to be so afraid of the world around you.

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Try this (2.71 / 7) (#34)
by theElectron on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:24:15 AM EST

Self-defense, marksmanship, hunting, the shooting sports -- these are all very rational reasons for owning firearms, and are among the reasons I am a gun owner.

Emotion plays no role in it, and if you think it does I think that speaks more to your relationship with firearms than to mine.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

Think what you will (none / 2) (#35)
by Tyler Durden on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:47:14 AM EST

I think it's fine that you own guns.  However, for you to deny that emotion plays no role in it is just dishonest (consciously or not).

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Great (2.50 / 4) (#39)
by theElectron on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:57:17 AM EST

If you have no problem with my right to keep and bear arms, then it just becomes a matter of you thinking you're better than me.

I can live with that.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

Unfortunate (none / 1) (#40)
by Tyler Durden on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:04:04 AM EST

It's a shame that you misinterpret my compassion for superiority.  I still wish you luck on your journey.

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I feel sorry for you (2.25 / 4) (#72)
by speek on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:07:15 AM EST

This must be what it feels like to be a "compassionate" conservative.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Peace be with you. (n/t) (none / 2) (#73)
by Tyler Durden on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:14:29 AM EST


Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Lead by example (none / 1) (#204)
by 87C751 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:14:33 AM EST

An enlightened man such as yourself should surely be able to demonstrate the non-necessity of self-defense tools first hand, no? I suggest a stroll through downtown Detroit at around 10:30 pm. I look forward to reading your account of your adventure.

My ranting place.
[ Parent ]

Maybe (none / 1) (#225)
by Tyler Durden on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:36:29 AM EST

If we took a few moments to look around and figure out WHY it is unsafe to walk through downtown Detroit at night, we wouldn't need to arm ourselves.  

How is it that so many other 1st world nations lack this compulsion to have a self-defense arsenal?  Oh, that's right, they're all just a bunch of pussies.  

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Guns and your cock (1.50 / 6) (#43)
by noop on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:14:44 AM EST

I keep guns for a number of reasons, some which include recreation and self-defense (that being the most worthwhile, in my opinion). Apparently this doesn't apply to you, as if you're attacked I suppose you can just drop your pants and whip it out, and while your would-be attacker's getting an eyeful you can just run away? Is that it?

Haven't you tried that? Whip it out and squirt them down, I mean. It's particularly effective if you're HIV+! But either way, with training and a cock enlargement, it's quite the effective weapon. Most recommended.

[ Parent ]

The trick in True Trolling (tm) (none / 2) (#46)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:11:35 AM EST

is to note reply to the threads you've created. Instead, you step aside and watch with a fond glow in your eyes as you see your thread prosper and increase in size, like the wonderous dicks elenchos was suggesting.

In fact, for some, watching the latter directly leads to the former happening.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]

The Second Amendment is still very important. (2.50 / 12) (#5)
by havesometea on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:13:21 PM EST

I support the ACLU although I don't stand with them on this issue. I see their point but I also agree with the author. The idea that mere rifles and handguns aren't enough to protect our liberty lends credence to removing the assault weapons ban. How long will it be before even automatic weapons won't help? I am just waiting to see what Bush is going to do when the Assault Weapons ban comes up for renewal. It will be interesting to see what he does. Defense technology is going to out-pace the usefulness of automatic weapons one day. What will we complain about then?

Automatic weapons don't work against bombs (none / 1) (#263)
by micromoog on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:07:28 PM EST

No weapon you can get your hands on will ever be enough to defend yourself against the United States military, if it comes down to it. Give it up. Call your Governor if you want your state to start up a 2nd-amendment-savvy state militia.

[ Parent ]
Tell that to the Iraqis killing our troops. NT (none / 3) (#269)
by sllort on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:36:58 PM EST


--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
The 2nd Amendment gives us the right to bear nukes (2.33 / 12) (#6)
by Linus Torvald on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:15:47 PM EST

Let's start at the beginning. All federal lawmaking authority is vested in the Congress, and is the Congress authorized to permit or ban or allow or infringe the private ownership of arms? Actually, two provisions apply: In Article I Section 8, Congress is given power to "provide for ... arming .. the militia." It may give us arms. But may it TAKE away those arms, or any other arms?

No. The Second Amendment bars any INFRINGEMENT of the right to keep and bear arms.

A "power to allow or not allow"? Not there. Nor anywhere else.

Is it appropriate for the federal government to own nuclear weapons? That is to say, has any federal official in the military chain of command -- from Harry Truman on down -- ever been put on trial for merely having control over nuclear weapons?

No.

Therefore, shall we surmise the federal government and its agents have some proper and duly delegated right, power, or authority to possess such things?

If so, where did it or they get that right, power, or authority?

Fortunately, under our system of government, we know what the answer must be: The government can acquire no right, power or authority except those which are delegated to it by the people.

Can you delegate a right, power or authority which you do not already possess?

No.

Therefore: The American people, both individually and as a group, have the right, power and authority to own nuclear weapons. No other condition can apply, unless you submit that we now live under a form of government where all rights and powers start with the GOVERNMENT MASTERS, who then bestow upon us (their peasants and slaves) only those lesser and included rights which our masters wish US to have.

Don't just say: "Come on, prove you're REASONABLE; admit you don't have any NEED for a nuclear warhead."

But once we start down that road, won't they also wheedle and cajole and nag us into stipulating that we don't really "need" a tank ... a howitzer ... a shoulder-launched missile ... a machine gun ... a semi-automatic rifle ... anything, finally, beyond an unloaded black-powder ceremonial flintlock with a plugged barrel that we're allowed to take out of the police locker only long enough to carry in the Fourth of July parade?

Hot gay sex now

don't abuse Linus Torvald's name (1.14 / 7) (#8)
by mami on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:35:23 PM EST

or I will tell him that you drag his name to places, where Linus wouldn't want to see his name dragged into.

[ Parent ]
His name is Linus Torvalds, you troglodyte. (1.50 / 10) (#9)
by Hide The Hamster on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:41:49 PM EST




Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

[ Parent ]
STOP IT! (1.00 / 6) (#54)
by Baal on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:52:03 AM EST

Ever since I put that word in your vocabulary you've done nothing but abuse it. Troglodyte is not supposed to have a negative connation. Only ignoramuses like you use it that way.

Hey there's a good word: ignoramus. Why don't you use that instead?

[ Parent ]

Awfully silly way to run a government... (none / 2) (#57)
by kerinsky on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 05:57:54 AM EST

The government can acquire no right, power or authority except those which are delegated to it by the people. Can you delegate a right, power or authority which you do not already possess?

That's an awfully silly way to run a government.  I mean really, are you truly trying to say that the government can't tax people or throw them in jail unless each of its individual citizens have the same power?

Plus I can sidestep your arguement anyway by saying that before the government existed people had the natural right to do anything they wished.  Then they created a government, instilled certain powers in it, and then surrendured those powers themselves.  Thus the power was delegated while it was possessed by the people and the government merely retained it once it was no longer possessed by the citizens.

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

But seriously (none / 0) (#405)
by jasonditz on Thu Jan 22, 2004 at 01:13:34 AM EST

I mean really, are you truly trying to say that the government can't tax people or throw them in jail unless each of its individual citizens have the same power?

He probably isn't trying to say that, which is a damned shame because its an important point to make. So let me just go on record as saying it just in case.


Plus I can sidestep your arguement anyway by saying that before the government existed people had the natural right to do anything they wished.Then they created a government, instilled certain powers in it, and then surrendured those powers themselves.

Fine, if thats what those people wanted to do. They are dead, and their powers should have died with them. Clearly those people who did this didn't have the legitimate ability to take rights away from others, so the state shouldn't either.

[ Parent ]
No, it's a collective right belonging to ... (none / 1) (#58)
by pyramid termite on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:01:18 AM EST

... a well regulated militia, and therefore, seeing as fingernail clippers, box cutters and butter knives are now considered arms, only members of the armed forces may posess anything sharper than a rubber ball.

Sheesh ...

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Inconsistency in politics, film at 11 (1.71 / 7) (#10)
by bobpence on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 09:46:56 PM EST

I had to laugh reading an ACLU defense of states' rights!
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
Hi there (1.23 / 17) (#11)
by Kragg on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:34:25 PM EST

You appear to be attempting all manner of logical gymnastics to give every individual the right to possess lethal weaponry. The ACLU and the Supreme Court's definition is clearly correct, and yet you refuse to defend it against misinterpretation by those who would like to carry round submachine guns.

You also seem to think that the exact meaning of words as used in the 18th century is very important to the issue of whether people should be allowed to bear arms. It's not.

Here's a suggestion. Let's forget about the second amendment for a moment and discuss whether we think people should indiscriminately be given the right to bear arms. At the end of it, we can decide whether the court's retrofitting of sanity to the second amendment is right or not.

Here's my take: I think that at the very least if you want to carry a weapon you should first be subjected to psychological profiling to determine that you aren't likely to shoot people with your lovely gun. You should be restricted to using that weapon in places designated for the use of weapons, since they're dangerous.

As the ACLU recognise, the use of guns against the government is laughable. You know why? Because their guns are bigger than yours. They can afford more of them with your money.

The only even slightly sensible argument is personal defense, and I strongly believe that enabling the use of weapons for personal defense puts you in a much worse situation than if nobody is allowed to use them. I don't think I'm alone on that one.

Please, felixrayman, put aside your semantic pedantry and talk about the issue. Why do you think everyone should be able to carry guns? Wanting to shoot the president is laudable, but is it worth arming every idiot in your country? You'll go to prison anyway.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.

Such idiocy (2.33 / 6) (#15)
by leviramsey on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:44:08 PM EST

It is the Second Amendment that protects the Bill of Rights. If the FBI seeks to shut down a newspaper or other media source that refuses to parrot the government line (an action that, for some strange reason, since the great war against the Second Amendment began, has become all too common, as any reader of IndyMedia can attest), that media source can, under the second amendment, protect themselves. A nice .50-cal machine gun would certainly make the Feds think twice about raiding you! An Abrams tank in the parking lot would do even more.

While it's true that no organized military uprising against the US could succeed, a guerrilla war could be very effectively mounted against US forces to protect Constitutional rights.



[ Parent ]
you really think (1.83 / 6) (#16)
by Kragg on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:48:26 PM EST

that a newspaper office can outgun the fbi? that's kind of my point, in such situations, you can't rely on firepower any more.

if the government starts doing things like that, you get them the fuck out of office, through organized, established channels.

this concept has a name... what was it... democracy?
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

haha (2.72 / 11) (#17)
by Hide The Hamster on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:52:41 PM EST

if the government starts doing things like that, you get them the fuck out of office, through organized, established channels.

Such blatant naiveté wouldn't be feasable if you were detained, rotting away in a ghetto with the Star of David sewn to your outercoat.


Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

[ Parent ]
Elections take too long (2.85 / 7) (#18)
by leviramsey on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:52:50 PM EST

You have to wait at least two years. As ineffectual as firepower is, waiting for a ballot box has even less chance of working in that situation.

Besides which, say that it's the ballot box that they're blocking access to?



[ Parent ]
i take your point (1.75 / 4) (#20)
by Kragg on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:58:57 PM EST

ok, a slightly more considered response. sorry, this an emotive topic.

I see where you're coming from. It's a question of pros and cons. Down one path, you have a cultural climate saturated with fear and aggression due to the ubiquity of firearms, together with the potential to instigate a problematic and painful means of replacing the government.

On the other, you have a safer country, but if the government becomes a dictatorship you have slightly more trouble mounting an armed coup (and it is still only slightly more trouble - i don't think that outlawing firearms would make it that much harder to get them if you were well organized).

As you say, the only way that a democracy can become a dictatorship is through media manipulation and hence control of public opinion. This is less of a problem than it used to be in the past, thanks in large part to the internet, and will hopefully the threat will continue to decrease as today's technorati become tomorrow's common man.

I understand the point... I just don't think the cons outweigh the pros.

As for 2 years being too long, isn't that what impeachment is there for?

And sorry for mouthing off at you before...
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

I'm a fence-sitter (3.00 / 4) (#23)
by curien on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:32:18 PM EST

I truly feel that the citezenry should have the reasonable ability to mount a revolution against the established government. OTOH, this allows individual citizens to become quite dangerous.

What sways me is simple: the freedom is already guaranteed in the Constitution. If you want to remove it, fine. The Const provides ways to do this (it's called democracy, remember?), and if it was a truly popular idea, it would be done. However, as long as it's in there, it is just as deserving of protection as the first, fourth, eight, fourteenth, or whatever amendment happens to be your favorite.

You started off with a proposal that we ignore for a minute that the 2nd Am. was part of the Const and decide what would be reasonable. But that's not a fair experiment: once you start applying the reasonability test to our Constitutional rights, the Constitution ceases to be meaningful.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

indeed (1.60 / 5) (#25)
by Kragg on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:40:52 PM EST

once you start applying the reasonability test to our Constitutional rights, the Constitution ceases to be meaningful

i'd sig that if i didn't like my current sig so much. i might sig it with my troll anyway.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

Glad you liked it (none / 2) (#27)
by curien on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:50:09 PM EST

The whole post was leading up to it, and I'm glad I managed to get at least that clause off without any typos or obscene errors. I can tell I'm getting tired.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]
Yeah, elections suck (1.75 / 4) (#29)
by Tyler Durden on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:59:31 PM EST

Let's just give everyone a gun.  Then they can shoot any politicians they don't like.  

Human beings, and especially Americans, aren't mature enough to have guns yet.  I suggest we all go back to fighting with sticks and rocks.

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Voting (none / 0) (#174)
by Pseudonym on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:12:36 PM EST

Don't those who are convicted of a crime lose the right to vote in the USA?

(For the record, I agree that personal ownership of firearms is no use against the world's largest millitary.)


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
perhaps, but... (none / 0) (#186)
by Kragg on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:23:24 AM EST

are you suggesting that there's a danger that people will be mislabelled as criminals to prevent them from voting? recent history would seem to indicate that there are more effective means of manipulating voting figures than that - it would be a heavy handed and difficult approach, very tricky to gloss over.

and if we assume that is the case, then surely an armed uprising by such people (who also aren't allowed to own weapons...) would be battled against with a clean conscience by everybody who's convinced that they're just lunatic criminals with guns.

the media is the battleground now - lobbying and 'informing' are much more powerful tools than an individual vote anyway, and i don't see the gun issue as having much to do with that (the fbi attacking newspaper offices notwithstanding, of course).
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

the world greatest military? (none / 1) (#267)
by headqtrs on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:33:52 PM EST

(For the record, I agree that personal ownership of firearms is no use against the world's largest millitary.)

You may ask the people of Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq for their opinion about "the world greatest military" and then rethink your remark...

Please remember that right now the american military is fully occupied in Iraq, a country of 28 million people. The US is more as 10 times as big as Iraq....

[ Parent ]
I said... (none / 0) (#308)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:39:48 PM EST

..."largest", not "greatest".


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Retrofitting? (2.87 / 8) (#21)
by felixrayman on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:04:37 PM EST

You commit precisely the same offense the ACLU commits - believing that because you don't like the existence of a right, you can simply ignore it. You claim that the ACLU and the Supreme Court's interpretation is correct, even though you admit it is "retrofitting". So tell me, if the Supreme Court "retrofitted" the First Amendment to mean that instead of a right to free speech and freedom of religion, the First Amendment actually meant that free speech was banned and an official religion was established, would you accept that as a legitimate argument?

You also seem to think that the exact meaning of words as used in the 18th century is very important to the issue of whether people should be allowed to bear arms

I believe that laws should mean what the people who wrote them intended them to mean. If you don't like the Bill of Rights, you have a legal option open to try to change it - it's called an "amendment".

Wanting to shoot the president is laudable

No, it isn't.

As the ACLU recognise, the use of guns against the government is laughable. You know why? Because their guns are bigger than yours

First of all, I don't own any guns. I am merely stating that the Second Amendment guarantees me the right to bear and keep them should I choose to do so in the future. Secondly, The British had bigger guns than the American rebels, the Americans bigger guns than the Vietmanese, the Soviets bigger guns than the Afghan rebels.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
so (none / 3) (#22)
by Kragg on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:13:25 PM EST

how about we agree that the second amendment should be amended (since that's obviously the right answer), instead of the courts deciding on a better interpretation for old words?

Honestly, though, reinterpretation happens all the time (especially in places with a longer history...) I understand your fear - that it's a slippery slope and is happening to other things. I just think you picked a bad example.

You have to accept a certain amount of pragmatism as oils for the wheels of society. Nothing is set in stone - if enough people disagree with something then it gets changed. I think that's what happened with gun laws. If it were to happen with free speech then there'd be a (possibly illegal) outcry.

The reason there isn't an outcry about things like gitmo is because a lot of people agree with the government and think that their treatment of the situation is the right answer. Let's work on convincing them otherwise, rather than trying to trick them into supporting the cause, huh?
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

How about this (none / 2) (#31)
by Tyler Durden on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:05:28 AM EST

A strict interpretation of the 1st Amendment means that I can walk around and say anything I want to.  The Constitution, after all, guarantees me freedom of speech.  

Oh wait, that's right, the Supreme Court has ruled that there are times where my freedom of speech is outweighed by other factors.  For instance, I do not have the right to walk into a crowded theater and shout, "FIRE!"  

But how DARE they try to limit the 2nd Amendment!

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You're not arguing in good faith (3.00 / 5) (#50)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:39:45 AM EST

Shouting fire in a crowded theater is causing a clear and present danger; slander and libel actually do a person harm. It would be fine if these analogous actions were outlawed wrt firearms: outlaw brandishing or threatening with a weapon.

The thing is, the current restrictions go far beyond that.

What would the ACLU say if there were a three-day waiting period on checking certain "subversive" books out from the library, which is approved only after a background check?

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

No, it's a good argument (none / 2) (#75)
by Tyler Durden on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:37:43 AM EST

Okay, shouting fire in a crowded theater is a "clear and present danger".  How is it that trying to restrict the sale and possession of firearms to people that may pose a danger to society so different?  Selling a gun to a known sociopath doesn't present a clear and present danger?

I don't know, it just seems a lot easier to kill someone with a gun than with a subversive book.  But then again, your book reading habits are accessible by the Deptment of Moth^H^H^H^HHomeland Security.

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

There, now that's different (none / 2) (#78)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:53:04 AM EST

Selling a gun to a known sociopath doesn't present a clear and present danger?

Of course it does. Convicted felons shouldn't be allowed to own guns, just as they're not allowed to vote.

As far as the DHS goes, I hope that the PATRIOT Acts I and II will soon go the way of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

Also rebels. (none / 1) (#82)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:25:22 AM EST

They shoulnd't have guns either, as is clear from reading various state constitutions that proclaim a right to bear arms. Really, if you think about it, only people who support the government should have a right to overthrow it. Because they won't.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

People /who have actually rebelled/ (none / 0) (#83)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:29:26 AM EST

Not people who might do so. Of course, once you actually rebel, you're guilty of treason, so whether or not you retain your 2nd Am rights is kind of moot.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]
Retrofitting (none / 3) (#173)
by Pseudonym on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:07:02 PM EST

You claim that the ACLU and the Supreme Court's interpretation is correct, even though you admit it is "retrofitting".
I believe that laws should mean what the people who wrote them intended them to mean.

You, probably, would agree that women and non-landowners also have the right to bear arms in the USA. This is a retrofit, as the framers almost certainly didn't have this in mind.

They would also have argued that slaves had no such right, too, however since there are legally no slaves left, we can conveniently ignore this. However, we may rightly wonder what slave owners thought terms like "freedom" and "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" meant to the people who wrote and voted for these words.

Retrofitting is unavoidable, because the world is a very different place than it was 230 odd years ago. Note that I'm not arguing for or against Kragg's post, but I'm generally pro-retrofitting where appropriate.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Retrofitting means rule by men, not law (3.00 / 4) (#178)
by felixrayman on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:41:57 PM EST

You will notice that women were given the right to vote by amendment (the 19th), and slavery was outlawed by amendment (the 13th). If you wish to take away my right to keep and bear arms, there is precisely one legal way to do that - by amendment. Such an amendment won't pass, because a large minority of Americans support the Second Amendment. That's what the Bill of Rights is for - to protect the rights of the minority.

As for non-landowners, the definition of milita included them. As for women, they are excluded today from the draft (and the draft is, legally, based on the very milita that people in other comments claim does not exist). If you ask me "Should women be allowed to keep and bear arms"? The answer would be yes. If the question is "Does the Constitution guarantee women the right to keep and bear arms"?, I would have to answer no, for the same reason that women do not have to register for the draft, they could be excluded from Second Amendment rights under the Constitution.

Again, let me make clear, I think women should be allowed to own firearms. I also think they should be required to register for the draft, if men are. I don't think either of those two things is required under the Constitution however.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Uhm... (none / 0) (#309)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:43:39 PM EST

Isn't that what democracy is? Rule by "men" (i.e. "we the people")?


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
You're an extremist (2.28 / 7) (#38)
by theElectron on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:55:33 AM EST

Here's my take: I think that at the very least if you want to carry a weapon you should first be subjected to psychological profiling to determine that you aren't likely to shoot people with your lovely gun. You should be restricted to using that weapon in places designated for the use of weapons, since they're dangerous.

You are vastly in the minority there. In 37 states there are laws that allow pretty much anyone without a history of violence or mental illness to conceal a firearm. AND GUESS WHAT!? The streets are exactly running red with blood. Shall-issue legislation doesn't increase violent crime it (I know this is difficult for you) *decreases* it. Hell, in many states (like Virginia) you take a firearm (concealed or not!) into government offices. There are two states (Vermont and Alaska) in which you don't even need a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Of course, just because you're in the minority doesn't mean you're out of luck. There's always Illinois, Massachussets, Communist Cuba, California, The Peoples Republic of China, Hawaii, etc.

As the ACLU recognise, the use of guns against the government is laughable. You know why? Because their guns are bigger than yours. They can afford more of them with your money.

Ahh... so let ask you a question. You're attacked by a violent felon who intends on raping you. He has a machete. Now, would rather have a boxcutter (a grossly inferior weapon) or a tube of KY jelly (grease up and bend over)? I don't think I even need to ask.

I strongly believe that enabling the use of weapons for personal defense puts you in a much worse situation than if nobody is allowed to use them. I don't think I'm alone on that one.

Think again.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

i shall reply with dignity and intelligence (1.00 / 4) (#44)
by Kragg on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:23:23 AM EST

The streets are exactly running red with blood

hmm.

Now, would rather have a boxcutter (a grossly inferior weapon) or a tube of KY jelly (grease up and bend over)?

Neither, a pair of good running shoes will do me fine.

Think again.

OK. What now?
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

Running shoes (none / 1) (#230)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:43:49 AM EST

Fine, if you're young and fit. But what if you're over 40 and fat? The BadGuy (tm) will take your Nikes off your corpse.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
how about a rape alarm then? (none / 1) (#235)
by Kragg on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:41:13 AM EST

and perhaps don't wander around in downtown queens after midnight, if you're 40 and fat.

if you live in the wilderness, miles from other people or police, then yeah, perhaps you still have a need for personal protection. It certainly shouldn't be the rule that you can own guns in big cities though. tensions are high enough.

i'm not sure i need to apologize for not giving the anal rape fantasist the consideration he was due, though.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

The "More Guns, Less Crime" myth (none / 3) (#51)
by Recreational Abortion on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:41:04 AM EST

Shall-issue legislation doesn't increase violent crime it (I know this is difficult for you) decreases it.

I hear this deception spread about frequently, and John Lott is the basis for it.  There have been many studies since, both disproving Lott's work, and coming to AT the very least, inconclusive data on whether or not can carry laws (increase/decrease) crime.  Some studies have even found that guns kept in the home for self-protection are more often used to kill somebody you know than to kill in self-defense; 22 times more likely1.

1Kellermann AL. "Injuries and Deaths Due to Firearms in the Home." Journal of Trauma, 1998; 45(2):263-67.
----
colorless green ideas sleep furiously
[ Parent ]

Life: It's not a zero sum game anymore (3.00 / 4) (#61)
by kerinsky on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:28:54 AM EST

It's not a zero sum game, a gun doesn't have to kill someone else to save your life, or provide other tangible benefits that are worth taking a small risk that the gun will accidentally kill someone.  A random family's car is certianly more likely to be involved in a multiple fatality tomrow than their gun would be...

"Since as many as 400,000 people a year use guns in situations where the defenders claim that they "almost certainly" saved a life by doing so, this result cannot be dismissed as trivial. If even one-tenth of these people are accurate in their stated perceptions, the number of lives saved by victim use of guns would still exceed the total number of lives taken with guns."

"Saving a life through DGU would be a benefit, but this almost never involves killing the criminal; probably fewer than 3,000 criminals are lawfully killed by gun- wielding victims each year, representing only about 1/1000 of the number of defensive gun uses, and less than 1% of the number of purportedly life-saving defensive gun uses. Therefore, the number of justifiable homicides cannot serve as even a rough index of life-saving gun uses. Since this comparison does not involve any measured benefit, it can shed no light on the benefits and costs of keeping guns in the home for protection."

http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/KleckAndGertz1.htm

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#103)
by Recreational Abortion on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:21:18 PM EST

But I wasn't trying to show that gun deaths were an accurate measure of effectiveness, what I was trying to do is show that the "More Guns, Less Crime" myth was just that, a myth.

The bottom line is that increased gun ownership doesn't increase the level of safety of a population, as the numbers clearly bear out.  What increased gun ownership DOES do, is put more guns in people's homes, increasing the owner's chances of accidental death, suicide, etc greatly, not to mention the fact that many many illegal guns that get on the street -- come from these law abiding citzen's homes.
----
colorless green ideas sleep furiously
[ Parent ]

Mythicality (none / 0) (#282)
by kerinsky on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:20:52 PM EST

Sorry, I should have specified that I was referring only to the last line of of you post where you were implying that a gun was more of a danger in the house than a protection.  I don't know one way or the other about the "More Guns, Less Crime" argument, nor do I really care.

You cannot however effectively argue that increased gun ownership does not increase the safety based solely on the number you pointed out, that of a gun being 22 times more likely to kill accidentally than in self defense.  My point is that you can use a gun in self defense and save a life without killing, or even shooting.  Specifically if a gun is 22 times more likely to save a life when used in self defense without killing someone that it is to be used to kill someone in self defense then you have no argument at all.

I quoted a report that listed the best estimate as being at least 133 (400000/3000) non lethal gun uses to each lethal gun use in situations where the defender felt a life was almost certainly saved.  If more than 17% percent of these people are right in their perception that a life was saved then all these numbers and calculations seem to support the proposition that, all other things being equal, owning a gun is safer than not owning a gun.  If it's less than 17% then it seems to be more dangerous.

I'm not sure what reality is one way or the other, but you certainly haven't proven your case to any reasonable degree of certainty.  I'm always open to new data, numbers and studies but right now I tend to believe that my house would be safer if I had a firearm although not enough so to for me to warrant the expense and time required to stay proficient with it.  If you don't have a clue how to properly handle such a weapon, or you're afraid of it, or have someone suicidal in the house then I'd assume it's probably more dangerous to have one.

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

Don't be silly. (none / 2) (#55)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:25:16 AM EST

In the UK, it's practically impossible to get a handgun licence, fairly hard to get a rifle licence, and easier to get a shotgun licence than a motorcycle licence. There's a fee, a certain amount of form-filling, and the police will want to come round and look at your gun cabinet, but that's about it. You can go from ab initiogunless to having more shotguns than limbs in about a week. Guess how many people have guns here?
Hardly any.
By your argument, we should be having muggings and rapes more-or-less continuously. Doesn't seem to be happening, though.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Reply (1.42 / 14) (#14)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:43:54 PM EST

Comrade Felix, socialist, I think the 2nd Amendment would prove incredibly useful to an army of adequately funded, like-minded patriots that decided to bring down the tyrannical government, like the crew of Enterprise takes down the Borg, periodically, to reassert the morality of the individual over that of the cube. Your Second Amendment there, if you think about it intellectually, it is a metaphor for "Assimilate this, you spawn of utilitarianism."

You're saying to yourself, "SIGNOR SPAGHETTI, even if these like-minded sons of liberty, millions of them, had as much money as their leader Picard could hope to use to purchase as many canons and canon fodder as one conceivably could, still that would be less than Hussein's well-regulated militia of savage scorpion people. And look what happened to him. The Borg traveled thousands of miles across oceans, mountains and deserts, and decimated his country in a week using a fraction of its power. What chance does Dallas Texas have?"

OK then!

Friends, band of brothers, Rusty, it would seem that everything is possible but some things are likelier than can be deterred by a sentence in a document written way back when "men" wore wigs and trousers ending above the knees. I think the lesson here is that we should work out and love our government. Because your body is the only one you will ever have, and your government owns it.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

Well said [nt] (none / 0) (#400)
by CodeWright on Tue Jan 20, 2004 at 03:09:36 PM EST



--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Hehe (2.61 / 26) (#26)
by trhurler on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:47:27 PM EST

You'll never get any sane discussion on this topic. The three points of view that exist are basically as follows:

1. I have an unreasoning fear of guns, which weapons I either know nearly nothing about or else have only military experience with. Therefore, I will do and say anything I think will help to cause fewer of them to exist anywhere near me.

2. I love my guns, and I'll shoot you for disagreeing.

3. I don't give a shit.

Now, as the astute observer will already have noticed, the people in camp three aren't going to pipe up. Anyone can imagine the resulting discussion.

People like myself are the oddballs - I own no guns, and I have no desire to own any gun that a rational person would even possibly have reason to fear widespread possession of, but I firmly believe that not only I but all other sane law abiding people have that right, regardless of what any government says. Just as others(and myself, but that's not relevant here,) would say that free speech is not a granted right, but an inherent one, I would say that given appropriate precautions taken by the owner, anyone has the right to possess weapons, lethal or otherwise. And yes, I include much larger and more dangerous weapons than mere small arms, be those automatic or otherwise.

Why? Well, to put it as simply as it can be put, having faith in your smiling suit adorned overlords is a sign of mental incompetence. You say you can't defend yourself against them with hunting rifles? You're right. That's why you deserve the right to own something much more useful.

Put another way, people are more important than their government. There must be an ironclad way of making sure government does not(as ours is in fact doing, today,) forget that. A few people here and there may be killed as a result? What loss is that, compared to a slow slide into tyranny, genocide, and universal oppression, which result is the essentially guaranteed alternative, given enough time?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Group 4 (none / 0) (#28)
by felixrayman on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:59:12 PM EST

For the record, I, like you, belong to group 4 of your 3 groups - the oddball group that doesn't own firearms but believes in the right of law abiding Americans to do so.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Group 5: Pragmatists. (none / 3) (#80)
by fn0rd on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:19:41 AM EST

I own a gun because of the Prisoner's Dilemma nature of a society in which lethal force is plentiful and distributed indiscriminately. If there were some way to guarantee that every sword in the would be beaten into a plowshare, I'd happily trade my gun for a nice sturdy hoe. But there ain't.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Same here (none / 0) (#160)
by Sloppy on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:58:19 PM EST

I don't currently own a gun, but I'll buy one on the day that my right to have one is seriously threatened.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]
5. GW Bush. (none / 1) (#37)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:51:03 AM EST

"I believe that people who are going to commit crimes shouldn't have guns."

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

That's like saying (none / 0) (#296)
by trhurler on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 07:02:57 PM EST

that people who will rape someone should have their dicks cut off. An admirable sentiment, if only it had any practical application whatsoever.

Obviously people with violent criminal histories should not be allowed to have guns. People with certain kinds of mental problems should not be allowed to have guns. But, beyond that, how will you determine who is "going to commit a crime?"

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You look deeply into their eyes. (none / 1) (#317)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 12:50:13 AM EST

At their tits if it's a girl.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

One point, I disagree... (none / 0) (#182)
by adharma on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:56:14 PM EST

You are not an oddball for your beliefs. I believe, meaning it has been my personal experience being raised and have lived my entire life in the south, that your view is common enough with the "average" southerner. It's a culture thing. Many southerners grow up around guns, know they are dangerous, don't want them in their personal lives, but would not begrudge another person from having them. Furthermore, any number of my friends would chomp at the bit to own a tank or learn how to operate ordinance fire. In fact, that view is so common all one has to do is look at the distrubution of southerners in the Military's infantry. There is a pride and a patriotism in asserting one's own personal liberty not only pertaining to policing the Government, but one's own property and livelihood that has yet to be bred out of the south.

It is a beauty and a wonder of this federated republic that so many cultures and views can be moderated and maintained in relative harmony. Whatever a person's view of the Second Amendment, there is enough room in this country to settle into an area with people of similar cultural values and visions. America need not be the same bland, least common denominator culture from sea to shining sea. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this. Diversity is strength.


take care,
-xn

[ Parent ]
I thought I was the only one (none / 0) (#227)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:38:56 AM EST

I don't own a gun, and I have no current plans to get one, but I'm strongly pro-Second Amendment.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
You forget one thing (none / 2) (#236)
by aphasia on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:42:53 AM EST

When you say "having faith in your smiling suit adorned overlords is a sign of mental incompetence... people are more important than their government. There must be an ironclad way of making sure government does not(as ours is in fact doing, today,) forget that," you forget that the government is the people. We create our government, and we enable officeholders to remain in power. Our control of the government is absolute thanks to the vote.

So why is it, do you think, that we feel this isn't sufficient control, and why do you think we'd ever need to rebel or defend against ourselves?

"You have *huge* brass balls. Tex would be jealous." --ti dave
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 3) (#295)
by trhurler on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 06:58:35 PM EST

You honestly believe that our government is truly "of the people?" You think democracies are immune to tyranny? Hitler was elected by the German people, and it wasn't a rigged election. Our government does a great many things that are very unpopular. Also, it manipulates public opinion; it is not merely a servant, but has become so relied upon in certain matters that the master doesn't even know what's going on.

Democracy is a fine thing, but the belief that it in itself guarantees our freedoms is so obviously wrong that I am half tempted to accuse you of deliberately arguing from a false premise.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Troll King trhurler suspects aphasia of trolling! (none / 2) (#312)
by aphasia on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:20:14 PM EST

Unless elected leaders, once in power, declare themselves dictators, it isn't immediately obvious how a democracy (oh, excuse me, representative republic!) such as ours can become tyrranous. Hitler was elected, yes, and did terrible things, but apparently he had the popular support of the majority of the people of Germany when he was doing so. We don't like the outcome, but he certainly didn't tyrannize enough of the German people to get kicked out of office.

Democracy is by nature majority rule. Is it tyranny if the majority supports it, as the majority of Americans appear to support Bush? The democrats, after all, don't have a chance in hell of winning in 2004.

To chalk it all up to propaganda and manipulative, presumably centrally-controlled media, assumes a very low intellect on the part of the American voters. Is this your opinion?

"You have *huge* brass balls. Tex would be jealous." --ti dave
[ Parent ]

Um... (none / 1) (#378)
by trhurler on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 06:35:08 PM EST

It does not follow that because I vote for a man today, I therefore approve of any action he might take that does not cause him to be removed from office. Furthermore, although elected, Hitler grew into a dictator - a bit at a time. With laws with names like the Defense of Patriotism Act. Sound familiar?:) And yes, I guess killing only three to four million of your own countrymen and keeping the others in line using secret police and extrajudicial proceedings might keep you in power, but I don't think the reason is because you aren't tyrannizing your people.

Much has been said of the "tyranny of the majority," and I doubt you've heard any of it, so I won't bother repeating it here.

Finally, yes, like all people, most Americans are partly stupid and partly just apathetic. Critical thinking is a skill exercised by a minority, and exercised to good effect by a still smaller one. Media, corporations, and government have been manipulating people quite successfully for a very, very long time now, and I don't see any sign that it'll stop in our lifetimes.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I agree that the second amendment means (1.80 / 10) (#33)
by qpt on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:17:41 AM EST

Very little in today's environment, but your article spends far too much time belaboring irrelevant points about what the drafters of the Constitution might have intended.

The Constitution is not a chain binding us to the ideals of centuries-dead statesmen. Instead, it's a living document, constantly reinterpreted in light of current cultural developments. As you pointed out, no court of significant standing has ever ruled that the second amendment provides a right for individuals to possess guns, so in my mind, the issue is settled.

There is not now any Constitutional right to have guns, and there will most likely never in the future be one. Let's move on.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

Bulls**t (2.66 / 9) (#42)
by Brandybuck on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:11:00 AM EST

The Constitution is not a chain binding us to the ideals of centuries-dead statesmen. Instead, it's a living document, constantly reinterpreted in light of current cultural developments.

Horsehockey! Legal documents are not subject to cultural reinterpretation. Just ask any contract lawyer, insurance agent, or mortage company whether their legal documents should be interpreted in the light of current cultural developments. They'll just laugh.

In fact, it's a legal principle in contract law that the intent of the signers must be taken into account if there is any dispute over the meaning of the contract.

The meaning of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights is clear. It's written in plain English with hardly a trace of legalize. It's easily understandable by anyone with a junior high school education. What part of "shall not be infringed" is unclear?

[ Parent ]

Of course the Constitution (none / 3) (#45)
by qpt on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:02:18 AM EST

Is not a contract, so you're not going to get very far by comparing it to one. It's a Constitution.

Since you want to talk about contracts, though, lets. You'll notice that contracts tend to be long, but the Constitution is short. I wouldn't be surprised if many software EULAs are longer than the US Constitution.

Do you suppose this is because the business of establishing the duties and rights of the government and people of a nation is less critical than controlling the use of a piece of software? No, it's because the Constitution was built as an intentionally open-ended framework on which to develop the law of the United States and was never meant to be applied directly to cases or situations as a statute might be. That's why the Constitution is largely devoid of precise definitions and exhaustively and unambiguously enumerated requirements.

Well, because of repeated Supreme Court rulings and Congress' drafting of statute, the law of the United States is that there is no absolute, Constitutional right for individuals to have guns, and as far as I can tell, that's a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the text and one that is well-suited to a contemporary, urban society.

I'm not interested in what you or the rest of your junior high class thinks the second, or any other amendment, might mean. Simply being able to read the document does not, in my mind, qualify someone to interpret it within the broader legal context of the modern United States. Those who are qualified, though, have made very clear how they understand the obligations imposed by the second amendment, and I for one am happy to abide by their judgment.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

HA! HA! HA! (1.50 / 4) (#74)
by rigorist on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:25:10 AM EST

IAAL,BIANYL
*snort*

[ Parent ]
True enough (none / 0) (#94)
by godix on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:07:27 PM EST

The Constitution is meant to be changed over time as needed. It's called ammending it. Since there is no ammendment superceding the 2nd then the 2nd still applies. Until there is another ammendment removing the second then we do have a Constitutional right to own firearms, although the government has frequently decided to ignore that right.

I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.
- General Qaddafi
[ Parent ]
Of course the second amendment (none / 3) (#98)
by qpt on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:42:40 PM EST

Still applies, but your self-serving reading of it notwithstanding, it does not give you, or any other individual citizen, the right to have a gun.

It simply makes no difference at all what you think the second amendment means. The federal courts have made quite clear what it actually does mean in the context of our legal system and have time and again refuted the notion that it grants individuals the right to have guns.

By way of analogy, suppose you think a prison sentence is cruel and unusual. Does that give you a Constitutional right not to be imprisoned, due to the eighth amendment? Of course it doesn't, because your reading of the Constitution and your understanding of the terms and requirements therein do not establish your Constitutional rights. That is the job of the federal courts.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

There's the difference between us (none / 2) (#111)
by godix on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:27:19 PM EST

I don't accept 'because they said so' as a valid arguement. The Supreme Court is not infallable and just because they say something doesn't mean I believe it to be true. You may believe appeals to authority are the final say in a debate, I personally believe the authority is often wrong.

I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.
- General Qaddafi
[ Parent ]
I'm not simply appealing to authority. (none / 2) (#125)
by qpt on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:03:14 PM EST

I'm pointing out that those who are tasked with enforcing the constraints imposed by the Constitution on the federal government do not think you have a legal right to have guns, so in no meaningful sense do you have a legal right to have guns.

Your supposed right will never limit the enforcement of any statute, nor will it have weight in any federal court case. Face it, a legal right that courts do not acknowledge is not a legal right at all.

Perhaps you think you have a natural right to have guns, or that the drafters of the constitution wished you to have a Constitutional right to have guns. I suppose either is conceivable, but both are irrelevant when discussing one's actual legal rights.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

So in other words.... (none / 0) (#149)
by felixrayman on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:15:04 PM EST

...one could say that the answer to the question "Does the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States mean anything at all anymore?" would be "No".

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Orwell would have loved you (none / 3) (#113)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:42:41 PM EST

2 + 2 = 4 unless we tell you it equals 5.....

[ Parent ]
Please (none / 1) (#128)
by qpt on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:08:20 PM EST

You pretend that it's obvious that the second amendment gives individuals the right to have guns, but it's not at all obvious to me and apparently not obvious to the Supreme Court either.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 2) (#138)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:55:34 PM EST

It IS pretty OBVIOUS. Unfortunately many Courts (including the Supreme Court) have a tendency to IGNORE obvious rights stated in the Constitution and elsewhere when they become INCONVENIENT to the agenda the Courts wish to pursue.

Rather then let the legislature deal with ammending the laws, the Courts take it unto themselves to interpret the Law in such a manner as to change it's meaning..... and thus overstep thier legitimate authority.

Please take a look at the interpretation of the laws (not just this one) as they stand today and try to tell me that the origional drafters and ratifiers of those laws wouldn't be spinning in thier graves after witnessing what they had been twisted into.

[ Parent ]

ugh (none / 1) (#146)
by Battle Troll on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:54:25 PM EST

Rather then let the legislature deal with ammending the laws, the Courts take it unto themselves to interpret the Law in such a manner as to change it's meaning..... and thus overstep thier legitimate authority.

Nicely done. I feel filthy all over.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Actualy they haven't (none / 0) (#129)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:12:05 PM EST

I think you are probably refering to the 1939 Miller Case which is what most gun-control advocates push when they are trying to argue the "collective right" position.

The attorny for the government certainly made the "collective" arguement as part of his breif... but the Court didn't actualy rule in favor of that arguement. What the Court ACTUALY said (in it's majority opinion) when it ruled for the government:

"The Court cannot take judicial notice that a shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches long has today any reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, and therefore cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees to the citizens the right to keep and bear such weapons."

AND

"The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators.  These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense.  'A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.'  And further, that ordinarily, when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."

In other words the Court only ruled that weapons which were not suitable for Militia use could be restricted (IMO a significant trashing of the MEANING of the Amendment itself). In no way did it ever state in any part of it's ruling that the right to bear arms was not an individual right.

IF we are talking about Federal Circut Courts then we have a mixed bag of opinions. The 9th reccently ruled that such a right was "collective" while the 5th made the opposite ruling that such right was "indvidual". The Supreme Court, which recently had an opportunity to settle the issue decisively basicly ducked it.


[ Parent ]

Thanks. (none / 2) (#131)
by qpt on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:31:41 PM EST

I know all that, but I get annoyed by the gun-nuts' tendency to just read into the amendment what they want to find, rather than following the course of the legal debate surrounding it.

That probably doesn't justify making false and inflammatory posts, but hey, it's K5.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Freedom for everyone! (1.25 / 16) (#47)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:12:22 AM EST

I think the intent of the Second Amendment is clear but the language it was written in ambivalent. This has caused our nation much grief. I also think Hussein gassed his own people, which has caused our nation much grief. Taking the sum of our grief it would then seem to everyone that we should enshrine an individual's right to bear WMD's in Iraq's new Constitution. We can call it the "Second Second Amendment." The first "Second" stands for "second time's the charm." It will sell itself, I think, with a little jingle music.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

Only black people should own guns (1.00 / 23) (#48)
by Typical African American Male on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:25:52 AM EST

Duh.

I think that is quite clear... (none / 0) (#392)
by Eryximachus on Sat Jan 17, 2004 at 11:34:41 PM EST

that the opposite is true.

Negroes lack the rational ability and moral character to own firearms.

We are talking about creatures barely more intelligent than apes.  They couldn't even construct a home more advanced than a beaver dam until the white man came.  Do you really think that people on the same intellectual level as a beaver should have guns?

[ Parent ]

You've got to be kidding me (2.50 / 18) (#49)
by Stickerboy on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:38:57 AM EST

Every word in the Second Amendment is meaningful. Every damn word! I know you'd like to cut out the "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" clause, but it exists and the Founders clearly intended for it to be there.

Here's a thought experiment: Why did the Founders explain the reasoning behind the Second Amendment in that clause? They don't do it for the other nine Amendments in the Bill of Rights. But they thought it necessary to include a clarifying statement in the Second Amendment, or else they would have simply written, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

So what does this mean? The courts and the laws of this land must interpret the individual right to bear arms in the context of a well-regulated militia, emphasis on the regulated part.

And you further put meaning into the Founders' mouths that clearly isn't there:

"That each... citizen of the respective States, who is... eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years... shall... be enrolled in the militia..."

You read that? That's a compulsory draft into a militia.

"...by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside..."

Let's see... commanding officer means a military hierarchy under formal command and control. So now we have a compulsory draft into a militia organized under a formal command structure. And how do you summarize this?

Even modern statutes explicitly allow for the example of such an unorganized militia.

Unorganized militia, my ass. Excuse my French.

And then you give the examples of the individual States' versions of a clause to bear arms, and even suggestions to amend the Second Amendment, which further strengthens my point: the Founders wanted the "well-regulated militia" clause there for a reason, or the Second Amendment would not exist in its current form.

You then take Alexander Hamilton completely out of its meaning in order to support another contention of yours.

"A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it.To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia..."

Hmm. Listening to Mr. Hamilton, I might believe that a "well-regulated militia" is defined by frequent, elaborate and effective drills and exercises, and a formal command structure and organization that makes such things possible. He makes it a point to explain that "well-regulated" takes a lot of work, that not every individual citizen can take part in such a militia, and that not all militia can be considered well-regulated. He is not describing your average gun-nut survivalist "militia", and he's not describing just anyone as being part of a "well-regulated militia" - just those who understand what it takes and train professionally to be a part of one.

But what do you say Mr. Hamilton means?

"This ignores the fact that the phrase had different meanings at the time the Constitution was written than it does now. The phrase did not always mean "well controlled", as opponents of the right to bear arms try to argue. The phrase was often used to mean "in proper working order..."

...and you conveniently leave out the fact that Mr. Hamilton explicitly defines a "well-regulated militia" in proper working order as being well-controlled and well-disciplined in its existence and carrying out its duties. Something you would find, say, in the current-day State National Guard.

And finally, you contradict yourself. First you're trying to make a point that in the 18th-century, words didn't mean what they mean today, and then you're trying to apply a present-day meaning to the word "bear". Here's a hint: "bearing arms" is the 18th-century way of describing someone as wielding a weapon. It had absolutely nothing to do with whether the weapon fit a certain size or not. (Which is in itself a spurious argument: I know men large enough to wield an M-240 general purpose machine gun by themselves, and I know men who were small enough that they had trouble getting a decent handle on a basic M-16 rifle. Also, there are many powerful weapons that are banned from individual possession that are man-portable - antiarmor and antiaircraft weaponry foremost in my mind.)

And by the way, that Oregon State Supreme Court decision that you try to use as a supporting argument? Nowhere does it mention the word "bear" as the reason for the ruling. They could just have easily used the reasoning that most of the rest of us use: that powerful weaponry with the ability to kill large numbers of people at a time shouldn't be possessed by the vast majority of the populace.

And finally, I believe in a limited individual right to bear arms. I own a shotgun for home defense and a pistol because I enjoy target shooting at the range. But I also realize that my right is not unlimited, and that it also must be interpreted in context of organizing and preparing for a formal, well-regulated militia.

You repeat back what he said (2.50 / 8) (#53)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:00:32 AM EST

Yes, a well-regulated militia is necessary for the defense of a free state. And what's the first step? Arming the people. It's so important, that the people's right to arm themselves shall not be infringed.

It doesn't say the militia's right... not the state's right... it is the people's right.

You may not like it. Plenty of 2nd Am supporters don't like it that the 1st Am allows flag burning. But it does, and it does.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

The lack of words means something as well (none / 2) (#63)
by kerinsky on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:39:45 AM EST

You're right that it is unusual that the first amendment includes seemingly extraneous text, but it should also be noted that this text was written in a manner that is distinctly nonrestrictive.  The lack of any specific language linking or making this right contingent or condition is, to me, glaring proof that none was ever intended.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

They give a reason for guaranteeing that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but do NOT make the right contingent upon that meaning.  The right is secured to the people, and to individual people, even if they can't or don't want to participate in a well regulated militia as well as if such a militia would be ineffectual (which is certainly NOT a forgone conclusion.)

Furthermore even if the framers had intended for this right to be a contingent clause the current supreme court's interpretation would have to be extremely loose in order to stay consistent with other recent decisions.

Article I Section 8 states in part, "The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"  however the recent decision in Eldred v Ashcroft states "Petitioners acknowledge that the preamble of the Copyright Clause is not a substantive limit on Congress' legislative power."  continuing on to say, "The constitutional command we have recognized, is that Congress, to the extent it enacts copyright laws at all, create a system that promote[s] the Progress of Science." (Ruling text, PDF)

Thus the supreme court has said that congress is not substantively limited in it's right to define copyright even after this right is clearly made contingent upon other conditions with the linking verb "by" and that furthermore the effect of any specific piece of legislation may be questionable as long as the system of laws as a whole creates a system that meets the requirement.

Thus even if the first amendment stated something along the lines of "Congress shall recognize that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state by not infringing the right of the people to keep and bear arms"  The first amendment is a restriction to Congressional power not an expansion to it like the copyright clause so this same loose interoperation would mean that the militia requirement would provide no "substantive limit" to peoples right to own and bear arms, and that arms may be owned and born in an such matter that creates a system which does not conflict with any abstract well regulated militia existing.

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

Problems (none / 1) (#112)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:29:16 PM EST

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The first portion of that clause might explain one of the reasons why the founders thought they it was a good idea for the rights of individuals to bear arms not be infringed.... HOWEVER they did not make such right contingent upon militia enlistment (which they certainly could have had they wanted to) and they specificaly confered this right onto individual private citizens (i.e. "the people") not to state governments (i.e. "the states")... the use of such language is consistant throughout the Constitution.

The job of the Judiciary is to interpret the Constitution and resolve conflicts within the law NOT to substantively change the meaning of the law when no such conflict exists.... that job is reserved by the legislature. In trying to deny the individual right to bear arms the judiciary would be usurping the function of the legislature and substantively changing the MEANING of the law as it was written....something which the judiciary has no legitimate authority to do.

Also I REALLY do not think you understand the language of the day. A militia does not simply refer to an official millitary organ of a state or provincial goverment (in the terms of the day that would have been a "provincial militia" or "colonial militia" or "fencibles") it refers to any body of armed men who were lawfully entitled to bear arms and did so as a measure to provide defence for a community (i.e. you're local rifle club would be a "militia" in colinial terms)..... and "well regulated" does not mean "regulated by governmental oversight"... it simply means "trained to use their firearms in a proper and uniform manner". Finally "arms" does indeed mean small arms (i.e. shotguns, pistols, muskets and rifles) as well as hand arms (i.e. swords, pikes and other melee weapons) as opposed to larger weapons which were (as has already been pointed out) not refered to as "arms" but rather "ordinance".
 

[ Parent ]

rights are unalienable (none / 2) (#121)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:25:06 PM EST

HOWEVER they did not make such right contingent upon militia enlistment (which they certainly could have had they wanted to) and they specificaly confered this right onto individual private citizens (i.e. "the people") not to state governments (i.e. "the states")... the use of such language is consistant throughout the Constitution.

Actually, your whole explanation goes against the base assumptions of the Constitution. Just look at the Declaration of Independence. It says that all men are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." This is also recognized in the 9th Amendment. "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The Constitution does not confer rights onto the people. This may seem like a minor point but it is not. Look at the sentence again: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

First off, the Constitution is recognizing a right which is already in existence, the right to keep and bear arms. Then it is saying that that right shall not be infringed. Infringed by whom? Well, according to Supreme Court precedent, by the federal government. Rights are inalienable, and shall not be infringed by any government, but it is not the job of the federal Supreme Court to make sure those rights are not being infringed. This is also a part of Supreme Court precedent. For instance, see Colgrove v Green on the interpretation of the Guaranty Clause.

In trying to deny the individual right to bear arms the judiciary would be usurping the function of the legislature and substantively changing the MEANING of the law as it was written....something which the judiciary has no legitimate authority to do.

If the court were interpreting a federal law. AFAIK even laws against assault rifles do not ban keeping or bearing of assault rifles, merely manufacture. And it can be reasonably argued that assault rifles are not included in the Constitutional meaning of "arms," as they were not in existance at the time of the Constitution. Does a state government have the right to ban possession of rifles in the home? What about the right to bear those rifles? I'd say certainly not. But even in the case they did, this would only fall under federal Supreme Court jurisdiction if it could be argued under the 14th Amendment, not the 2nd.



[ Parent ]
By your arguement (none / 1) (#133)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:41:50 PM EST

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. "

The 1st Ammendment only applies to the Federal Government as well... and states can make any laws they want regarding Freedom of Speech and Religion (including mandatory prayer).

I'm sorry you can't have it both ways. Either ALL the Ammendments in the Bill of Rights (Except the VIIth which explicity says "any court") allow the States to freely pass more restrictive laws or ALL of them restrict the States as well. Because they are all written with the same language.

The 1st even specifies the body which is not allowed to infringe.... "Congress" (i.e. the Federal Government), the 2nd (like the 4th, 5th, etc) simply says the right of the people shall not be infringed. It doesn't specify who is proscribed from infringing upon those rights.... but one would assume it applied to all governmental bodies (otherwise it wouldn't be such a blanket statement). Otherwise you are going to be arguing that the STATES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO PASS LAWS WHICH INFRINGE UPON THE RIGHTS SPECIFIED in the III, IV, V, VI, VIII  Ammemndments because ALL of them are written in exactly the same manner as the II Ammendment.

Example:

2nd - "the right of the people ..... shall not be infringed."

4th = "right of the people ........shall not be violated"

[ Parent ]

Umm yeah... (none / 1) (#140)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 05:07:31 PM EST

The 1st Ammendment only applies to the Federal Government as well...

Yep.

and states can make any laws they want regarding Freedom of Speech and Religion (including mandatory prayer).

Until the 14th Amendment, this was the case.

I'm sorry you can't have it both ways.

Actually, not only can I have it both ways, I do have it both ways.

Either ALL the Ammendments in the Bill of Rights (Except the VIIth which explicity says "any court") allow the States to freely pass more restrictive laws or ALL of them restrict the States as well. Because they are all written with the same language.

The 5th Amendment clause guaranteeing criminal prosecution only on a grand jury indictment is also not recognized as being incorporated into the 14th Amendment. Also, the 2nd Amendment does use the term "free state."

It doesn't specify who is proscribed from infringing upon those rights.... but one would assume it applied to all governmental bodies (otherwise it wouldn't be such a blanket statement).

Supreme Court precedent and words by the very founders of the Constitution contradict that notion quite strongly.

Otherwise you are going to be arguing that the STATES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO PASS LAWS WHICH INFRINGE UPON THE RIGHTS SPECIFIED in the III, IV, V, VI, VIII Ammemndments because ALL of them are written in exactly the same manner as the II Ammendment.

I never said that states have the authority to pass laws which infringe upon rights of the people. They don't. I said the federal government has no power to stop them. However, the 14th Amendment changes this significantly. But incorporation of the 2nd Amendment into the 14th was rejected by the Supreme Court in 1876.



[ Parent ]
I don't get it (none / 1) (#143)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 05:40:11 PM EST

What legitimate rational can be used to argue that the rights specified in the 2nd Ammendment (and the 5th Amendment clause guarunteing criminal prosecution only on a grand jury indictment)  should be excluded from the "privileges or immunities" secured by the 14th?

Certainly nothing in the 14th Ammendment indicates that only certain "privileges or immunities" be secured and others excluded. It seems the Court in 1876 was cherry picking what "privileges or immunities" it wanted to secure according to it's own agenda then rather the letter and spirit of the law. That is a miscarrige which should be corrected by the current court.

The most likely explination I can think of is that the Court was reticent to see emancipated slaves (i.e. Blacks) given a secured right to bear arms. That certainly doesn't seem like an honest and fair interpratation of the Law of the United States that should be allowed to stand as precedent.

[ Parent ]

do your own homework (none / 2) (#144)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:04:01 PM EST

What legitimate rational can be used to argue that the rights specified in the 2nd Ammendment (and the 5th Amendment clause guarunteing criminal prosecution only on a grand jury indictment) should be excluded from the "privileges or immunities" secured by the 14th?

I'm not going to do your homework for you. Read the Supreme Court decisions yourself and you'll see the rationale.

Certainly nothing in the 14th Ammendment indicates that only certain "privileges or immunities" be secured and others excluded. It seems the Court in 1876 was cherry picking what "privileges or immunities" it wanted to secure according to it's own agenda then rather the letter and spirit of the law. That is a miscarrige which should be corrected by the current court.

Sure, the court should go back to not getting involved in the decisions of the states.



[ Parent ]
nope, sorry (none / 1) (#259)
by beukeboom on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 02:15:44 PM EST

The job of the Judiciary is to interpret the Constitution and resolve conflicts within the law

Now what clause in the Constitution made you come to that conclusion?



[ Parent ]
Why not consider it the other way? (none / 1) (#185)
by cburke on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:19:53 AM EST

The courts and the laws of this land must interpret the individual right to bear arms in the context of a well-regulated militia, emphasis on the regulated part.

I always hear this argument.  Let me ask you this:  Why don't you interpret the phrase "well-regulated militia" in the context of a right of the people to bear arms?

You say that if they had just meant to give the people a right to bear arms, they would have said just that.  True enough.  If they had meant to only give well-regulated militias the right to bear arms, they would have just said that.  Instead, they wrote the Second Ammendment, which cites the need for a militia and declares the right of the people to bear arms as the conclusion.  

So, what kind of militia could they be describing which is served by acknowledging the right of the individual to own arms?  What is the use of such a thing?  I believe in this case the Second Ammendment tells all, around the words "free state".

[ Parent ]

Finally ! (1.63 / 11) (#56)
by Highlander on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 05:15:48 AM EST

Finally, someone who defends my right to own a reasonably sized nuclear missile to help me defend my state against the tyranny of the central government, which owns nuclears itself. Or against the british crown. Or Saddam and the like. Thank you felix rayman.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
The Education of a Liberal. (2.67 / 34) (#59)
by Kasreyn on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:06:56 AM EST

I remember a time when I stated the opinion that, since a handgun is an object designed for no purpose other than the taking of human life, it should be banned if society is serious about this "killing people is wrong" notion. For the sake of self-consistency alone, if not for any real effectiveness of such a ban. In specific, I was one of those who pointed to the qualifier - regarding well-regulated militias - as evidence that the framers did not intend for the common man to have a right to gun ownership.

However, I've become a bit less naive over the years (or so I like to kid myself :-). For one thing, after the Columbine tragedy, a million and one cretins began suggesting that pressing buttons on a keyboard to cause pixellated images to undergo pixellated animations of death was so mind-wrenching an experience that it drove these kids - who were for some reason already loaded down with shotguns and pipe-bombs - to go kill their classmates. Never mind the fact that I personally played more DOOM in my H.S. years than the entire "Trenchcoat Mafia" did in their lives, and haven't plotted mass murder yet - not even a little mass murder for a lark. Not once! So here I was, suddenly faced with the looming specter of people like Joe Lieberman clamoring to outlaw violent video games - and all of a sudden I knew just how the gun nuts had been feeling for years. I thought to myself, "Waitaminnit, self... aren't these the same folks who knee-jerk the exact same way against guns? Well, if their logic where *games* are concerned is this flawed..."

So I took a long step back and re-evaluated what actually causes gun violence, partially because I've also met quite a few responsible gun owners. I've come to the viewpoint that gun violence is caused by social ills, not the availability of weapons. If I have no desire to kill a man today, I will not desire to kill him tomorrow if have a gun by then. And conversely, if I wish to kill a man but do not have a gun, I'm not going to say "aww, shucks" and forget about it; I am going to kill him with a knife, a crowbar, a baseball bat, a blender, or something. Furthermore, guns are an ill that is not going away - if they are made illegal, then only criminals will have them. They're breaking the law anyway - think they mind breaking a gun law to help them break the FIRST law better, plus have a higher chance of getting away with BOTH crimes?

I thought a bit more about handguns. I visited NYC and saw the future: everyone jammed in cheek by jowl, no one has guns, everyone toes the line, and everyone is rude and surly. Compare to my state of birth, Indiana: everyone has guns, everyone has a loud and annoying opinion, and you don't hear much honking on the road. Also, it creeps me out that millions of people live on Manhattan, and all the government would have to do to enslave them all would be to put about 50 guys with machineguns and one tank on each bridge. (Ok, and a couple armed Coast Guard launches. And probably someone will find some other way to pick this apart, but I hope my meaning gets through, even if the delivery is flawed.)

Another thing: why is it we always see moaning in the media about kids shooting kids, but we never hear cheering when a pretty young woman uses her pistol and her NRA training to blow away a would-be rapist? It seems guns never get the good side (such as it is) told. I personally would prefer self-defense not require harming the other person, but taser technology just isn't as good yet. And that's what people say guns are for: self-defense. So why does the proper use of a handgun for self-defense never make it into the news?

Guns are also an equalizing factor. Think of what we have here: a device that can impose ultimate power / force over another human (threat of death), which requires only enough strength to hold the barrel steady and pull a trigger, and can be concealed easily under a coat or sweater. You'd have to have bad eyesight, be very elderly, or be extremely frail or ill to be unable to use a handgun. So they're usable by nearly every member of the population. Compare to ancient weapons, which required much greater coordination and strength, and since reach and muscle mass was of critical importance in melee combat, males were more dangerous with such weapons. Guns, however, favor neither men nor women, old nor young, black nor white, christian nor muslim.

What better deterrant could there be to crime? Obviously we're doing a poor job of rehabilitating criminals these days, so how about we work on some prevention? If every young, pretty woman in America had a pistol she knew how to shoot in her purse, and if every male knew it, how much rape do you think would happen? I'm not saying I love the idea of every human being carrying around the threat of single-serving ultimate force in their pocket, but it seems to be an equalizer of sorts. I think our society could use a little more equality. All we need is a comprehensive system for matching each bullet to a gun and each gun to an owner, so we know who shot who.

There are two issues with this that I can see: the "arms race" effect, and the "innocent bystander" effect. Last things first: There is no legitimate need for fully automatic weapons for self-defense. If enemies are coming at you so fast and furious that you can't crank trigger fast enough to stop them all, then you're probably too fucked for violent self-defense to be any use to you. Also, you may hit someone who's not involved in your crisis whatsoever, and that's just plain uncool.

As for the "arms race" effect, banning assault weapons will stop part of it. The other angle is armor. Would criminals take to wearing kevlar before they go mug or rape someone? Possibly. If that were so, it would become safety for the rich, who could afford armor-piercers and armor, over the poor. But then, it's just that on another level today - gun haves, gun have-nots. However, it still gives crime victims a fighting chance, because as of yet, bulletproof helmets aren't commonly available.

I personally don't plan on owning a gun, because if I was attacked violently and shot and killed my attacker, I don't think my conscience would let me rest well again. Yes, I'm a softie. However, I do plan on getting, and being trained in the use of, a Taser when I can afford it. Next best thing, I guess. And my days of bashing the guns-as-self-defense argument are over.


-Kasreyn

P.S. I'm sure the idea of an armed and trained populace doesn't appeal to the government, either. If they ever need to declare Martial Law - strictly for our protection, you understand *wink* - they might have a harder time pulling it off with that many more armed, pissed-off citizens who know the land better than their soldiers do.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
If guns were illegal (2.00 / 4) (#62)
by whazat on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:23:15 AM EST

Then it would be a lot harder for the criminals to get guns (as most guns used by criminals come from legal sources).

Just an opinion from somewhere that has strict gun control law. It does mean that fewer of the police are armed so that fewer civilians get accidentally shot by police.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (2.25 / 4) (#64)
by QuantumFoam on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:52:39 AM EST

By your post you sound like a non-American. Nothing wrong with that, but you might not be fully aware of our history. We tried to ban alcohol, and then the criminals moved on to alcohol and made a ton of money. That lasted about 10 years.

Then we banned pot and other drugs. Those were either grown, made, or imported, and criminals, not being able to profit by bootlegging, moved on to those and made even more money. There are probably 3,000 meth labs in the United States, for example. Before each of these drugs were made illagal, people got them from legitimate sources.

My point is this: the black market is infinitely adaptable, and if you ban gun production in the US, they will be imported and sold to anyone that knows how to get them. If other countries stop producing guns, organized crime will make them themselves.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

Making Guns vs Alcohol and Drugs (none / 2) (#68)
by whazat on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:33:15 AM EST

I would propose that it is far harder to make guns that alcohol ( as anyone can do it in their cellar ). Drugs especially synthetics can be made quite easily. Try setting up a gun factory.

Also it is a lot easier to smuggle drugs than guns.

My view on gun control is that it there are two situations that are tolerable, either everyone has guns or as few people as possible have guns. With the number of guns in the US at the moment it would be hard to get to the second state.

I just posted my argument to try and show that gun control can work in some situations and that some arguments against it are not fully thought out.

[ Parent ]

Making guns (none / 2) (#77)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:44:11 AM EST

Not that hard. Sure, to make a quality gun requires that you be a competent machinist with a good shop. But something with the quality of the average saturday night special isn't too difficult. IIRC, the Sten gun in WW2 was manufactured in basements by various resistance groups.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
However it is still (none / 0) (#86)
by whazat on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:38:14 AM EST

Not that common here, getting ammo is also quite hard which should be factored in to the consideration of practicality of guns for crime. While there is some gun crime it is nothing like the illegal drug scene which the first post implied it would be.

Can't find any hard evidence on the Sten, could you find a link?

[ Parent ]

Found too many (none / 0) (#87)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:39:07 AM EST

The Sten's rather popular.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Sten=cheap weapon (none / 2) (#91)
by QuantumFoam on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:01:18 PM EST

In the book Cryptonomicon, one of the characters tries to make an internet archive that contains the instructions for oppressed dissidents to make a cheap gun from commonly available parts. The Sten was somewhat like this, it was an ugly gun that would jam frequently, but it was simple and easy to make.

On my original point, guns would be difficult to manufacture on the black market, but the black market in drugs alone is a multibillion dollar industry, they operate on the principle that when there is little supply due to legal issues, the demand and prices will go up and they are the ones to fulfill that demand, despite the risk. If someone is determined to get a gun, especially in a place where guns are banned, he will pay any price to get one made or imported for him. Drug users have a habit they want to feed and just want to get high, people who need a gun to do something criminal need a gun, and will get it by any means possible.

Anyway, my point is that criminals will still be able to get guns one way or another, and that gun control will only stop people who follow the law in the first place.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

My bad (none / 1) (#92)
by QuantumFoam on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:02:39 PM EST

I forgot to include a link to info on the sten.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

sten plans (none / 1) (#291)
by gandalf23 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 06:21:32 PM EST

here is a machinist's drawing of the sten mk2 reciever

this receiver + a $100 sten parts kit = federal prison :(

and, while not a Sten (couldn't find them, but I know they're out there somewhere) here is the complete set of drawings for a PPSH-41.

with these and a milling machine you can make your own ppsh-41. again, if you actually build one without the proper license (in the US anyway) then you are just asking to go to federal-pound-me-up-the-ass prison.

[ Parent ]

I also have read cryptonomicon (none / 1) (#97)
by whazat on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:38:41 PM EST

And remember that the rifled barrel was one of the sticking points.

In a society without so many guns, guns are less necessary for crime, people managed crime fairly well pre guns, so how are guns needed for crime? If gun control raises the price of getting a gun for a criminal it means less criminals will have guns (think economics here).

Can you imagine most American police without guns? This is what we have in Britain and I like it.

[ Parent ]

Yes, but (none / 3) (#102)
by QuantumFoam on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:07:44 PM EST

In a society without so many guns, guns are less necessary for crime, people managed crime fairly well pre guns, so how are guns needed for crime? If gun control raises the price of getting a gun for a criminal it means less criminals will have guns (think economics here).

Guns aren't needed for crime, but they sure make it easier to kill someone. If someone is living somewhere where guns are banned, and wants to murder someone badly, he's probably not going to care all that much about violating anti-gun laws, unless the gun possession laws' penalties are wose than those for murder.

Can you imagine most American police without guns? This is what we have in Britain and I like it.

It sounds like it's nice. However, on this side of the pond, the members of our fine law enforcement agencies don't need guns to fuck you up either:

In August of 1997, Brooklyn resident Abner Louima was arrested by officers from the 70th precinct after he broke up a fight between two women. Louima claims that the arresting officers, Thomas Bruder & Thomas Wiese, stopped twice on the way to the station to beat him with nightsticks and police radios. Once there, Louima was sodomized with a toilet plunger by officer Justin Volpe, puncturing Louima's colon and bladder, causing severe and permanent intestinal trauma. Volpe then shoved the plunger in Louima's mouth breaking several teeth. Louima was placed back in the holding cell for several hours before his fellow inmates demanded the police call an ambulance. The police who escorted Louima to the hospital claimed to have found him in the street after he had been injured in a gay bar having rough sex. Four New York City police officers, including Volpe who is serving 30 years, have been convicted. The commanding and executive officers of the 70th Precinct were reassigned. Another fourteen officers reportedly were placed on modified assignment or suspended. Of the fourteen, eleven had prior unsubstantiated excessive force complaints and five had misconduct complaints that had been ruled inconclusive or resolved through conciliation.

That's that site's summary of the incident, there are links to other sources below it.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

That's not what you have... (none / 1) (#288)
by gandalf23 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:58:27 PM EST

Can you imagine most American police without guns? This is what we have in Britain and I like it

Really? I was in London for a few days this summer and every cop...errrr...bobby I saw had a gun (or two). I even asked a few about it and took a picture of one (with his permission). Most of the ones I saw had Glocks, I believe, and about half had MP5s. I asked a few why they didn't use GP35s and SLRs, as the Brittish army should still have tons of both, but they were not very gun knowledgeable. One even admitted that he'd only shot about 50 rounds through an MP5! He seemed oddly proud of that, too. I'd hate to be on the street anywhere near him if he has to use it.

[ Parent ]

Ever hear of a zip-gun(nt) (none / 0) (#99)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:51:49 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Is ammo easy as well? - nt (none / 0) (#101)
by whazat on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:05:18 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Relatively, if you don't mind reliability problems (none / 0) (#104)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:39:28 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Not infinite (none / 1) (#116)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:02:07 PM EST

During prohibition, it was "harder for the criminals to get" alcohol. Nowadays, drug laws make it "harder for the criminals to get" drugs. Furthermore, even within the drugs themselves, it is harder to get hard core strictly regulated drugs than it is to get soft decriminalized drugs.

If you want to reduce the number of guns out there, it can be done. But that would require true prohibition of guns across the United States. And allowing police to have guns but not individuals would pose a much big problem in the United States, since the police force here is decentralized and controlled by the states.



[ Parent ]
Harder to get (none / 0) (#221)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:28:47 AM EST

When I was in high school, drugs were easier to get than booze!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
When was that? (none / 0) (#311)
by dipierro on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:56:30 PM EST

During the prohibition?

[ Parent ]
Prove it (none / 1) (#84)
by godix on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:35:21 AM EST

as most guns used by criminals come from legal sources

This does not match things I've heard in the past. Please provide proof that criminals mostly use guns that are registered and easily traceable right back to the criminal.

I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.
- General Qaddafi
[ Parent ]
Perhaps I should have said (none / 1) (#88)
by whazat on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:43:33 AM EST

Made for legal purposes. That is they may have been stolen from a gun store or from a legal owner or bought illegally from a legal owner. This is what I meant by come from legal sources.

[ Parent ]
Actually that isn't true (none / 2) (#85)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:35:35 AM EST

Or at least, the evidence from the UK tends to refute the idea that the non-availability of legal guns reduces the availability of illegal ones. Since the total handgun ban, the level of armed crime has continued to rise at much the same rate (according to some sources, faster) than before.

A moments thought will reveal that this makes perfect sense. Legal guns, at least in the UK, were very carefully controlled. Gun owners had to be registered with the police, and had to keep the guns in safe conditions, and were inspected to ensure this. Allowing a legal gun to go missing was a crime in itself. Therefore, the illegal guns in circulation were almost never legal hand guns that had slipped out of circulation, but rather weapons that had been imported illegally, or modified shotguns (which were less strictly controlled, don't leave rifling marks, and are anyway still legal).

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

There was never huge hand gun ownership in the UK (none / 1) (#95)
by whazat on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:07:55 PM EST

So the change from availibity to non-availibility was not very large. So little can be deduced from it.

However, I'm not sure if it the most recent legislation, was necessary.

[ Parent ]

A+ comment. (none / 3) (#70)
by waxmop on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:51:02 AM EST

I think hostility and indifference towards is almost a subconscious thing. Growing up in Texas, almost everybody had a gun in the house, explicitly for the purpose of self-defense. It was no big deal, really. Children knew not to play with guns for the same reasons they knew not to play with the circular saw in the garage -- they aren't toys.

After moving to the east coast, I met a lot of people that grew up in the area and they really were amazed and horrified by how prevalent gun ownership was in the south. I think they had all heard scary stories about dangerous guns were since childhood, so there was a whole lot of emotional baggage associated with the topic. The connotations (both theirs and mine) got in the way of any meaningful understanding between us.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]

Of course I think it's quite true... (none / 0) (#115)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:52:31 PM EST

I think there's a need for strict gun regulations in NYC. I don't think there's a need for very strict gun regulations in Texas. It's a different environment.

[ Parent ]
Good Point! (none / 2) (#292)
by Lenny on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 06:22:54 PM EST

I think there's a need for strict gun regulations in NYC. I don't think there's a need for very strict gun regulations in Texas. It's a different environment.

I agree! Law abiding New Yorkers aren't worthy of weapons to defend themselves against armed criminals. They're meat for the beast.

Law abiding Texans, on the other hand, deserve to survive to pass their genes down.


BTW, did you hear about Chicago getting their title back???


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
You've obviously put a lot of thought into ... (none / 0) (#76)
by Mr.Surly on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:41:32 AM EST

... this, and as such I applaud you.

Perhaps a well-researched article regarding communities with high gun-ownership levels vs. crime rate?

Oh, and kevlar armor doesn't help much with getting shot in the face, or even the feet/hands.

[ Parent ]

kevlar (none / 0) (#89)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:44:18 AM EST

Remember that the face and hands are small targets. Most of the time shooters aim for the center of the body, between waist and neck.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
You know, (none / 3) (#93)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:07:21 PM EST

it is comments like yours that make me wonder on what the real motive of the pro-gun faction is. As far as I can see, there are three arguments here, namely:-

a) A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state (in the apparent exact words of the 2nd Amendment), which, again as I see it, can be interpreted in two ways:-

a.1) American citizens have a natural right to form and join a well-regulated militia to protect from external forces,

and a.2) American citizens have a natural right to raise an armed insurrection against the government du jour (which is what most gun-totting libertarians seem to argue for)

and b) guns somehow auto-magically help reduce the crime rate in crime-ridden communities (mostly put forth by groups such as NRA).

a.2 is obviously bunkum (and if anyone thinks otherwise, I dare them to actually raise an insurgency and get away with it in any modern nation), a.1 already exists, although I daresay they won't allow their regulars to make away with their guns. Now (b), while arguably comfortable and useful, clearly doesn't refer to the Second Amendment, in that it refers to self-defence of the individual as opposed to security of the nation.

Ergo, the thinking behind the 2nd Amendment is outdated, and has been that way for quite some time now.

That behind us, you said:-

So they're usable by nearly every member of the population. Compare to ancient weapons, which required much greater coordination and strength, and since reach and muscle mass was of critical importance in melee combat, males were more dangerous with such weapons. Guns, however, favor neither men nor women, old nor young, black nor white, christian nor muslim.
Let's put it this way. When you learn an ancient self-defence mechanism such as karate or kalaripayattu for instance, you not only learn how to kill, but also how to discipline yourself. To almost quote Michael Crichton from one of his ramblings, a karate master doesn't, can't, kill his wife just because he's pissed off with her; a significant part of his learning is devoted to understanding when to kill, and not just how.

Gun training, sadly, doesn't come with a similar safety valve. Hence the killing fields at Columbine, among other places.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]

motive (none / 0) (#145)
by horny smurf on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:09:17 PM EST

Maybe the motive of the pro-gun faction is to protect a citizen's right to own a gun?



[ Parent ]

Which I understand, (none / 1) (#179)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:47:13 PM EST

but the point I'm trying to make is that basing this right to fire-arms on the reasoning provided in the Second Amendment is a tad dubious.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]
dubiousity (none / 1) (#220)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:15:52 AM EST

The militia part is outdated (or rather, public opinion on thme has changed). North Carolina, during ratification, made this proposal:
That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit;
Given how the colonies had been treated by British soldiers and armies, it's not surprising (and neither is the ban on troop quartering, something anachronistic today).

Given that we have a large freestanding army (with 5 branches) and no loss of liberty, the concept of a militia as "the best security of a free coutnry" (James Madison) does seem out of place in today's world.

However, consider this proposal froma minority of the Pennsylvania ratifiers:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals;
Almost every other proposal had the right to bear arms as a semi-colon separated clause from the militia description (example from New York):
That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, including the body of the People capable of bearing Arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State;
which is to say that our right to bear arms isn't dependent on the function of a militia.

[ Parent ]
You use a lot of words (none / 3) (#114)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:45:31 PM EST

but you say nothing. Well, I do see one thing you actually say, as a proposal, though I doubt it is serious: "If every young, pretty woman in America had a pistol she knew how to shoot in her purse, and if every male knew it, how much rape do you think would happen?"

Lots, but more to the point, how much purse-snatching do you think we'd have? Oh yeah, and what about ugly women? They get raped too, you know. What am I saying? No, you probably don't.



[ Parent ]
Good Arguments (2.71 / 7) (#118)
by virg on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:16:05 PM EST

You've posited some very good arguments and comments, and for that I applaud you. I want to rebut some of your points, though.

> I remember a time when I stated the opinion that, since a handgun is an object designed for no purpose other than the taking of human life, it should be banned if society is serious about this "killing people is wrong" notion.

It's good you rejected this. It's got two flaws. First, handguns aren't necessarily for killing. They have a deterrent force when used for that purpose. Second, very few people think "killing people is wrong" in the special case of self-defense, which is what most people own guns for, purportedly.

> I've come to the viewpoint that gun violence is caused by social ills, not the availability of weapons. If I have no desire to kill a man today, I will not desire to kill him tomorrow if have a gun by then. And conversely, if I wish to kill a man but do not have a gun, I'm not going to say "aww, shucks" and forget about it; I am going to kill him with a knife, a crowbar, a baseball bat, a blender, or something.

I tend to disagree with this argument on grounds of convenience. A gun makes killing someone much easier than the other weapons you described. If two fellows in a bar mix it up with pool cues, the likelihood of death is very low. Sure, it's possible to kill someone with a baseball bat, but it's more difficult than you imagine it is. Add a gun, however, and suddenly a moment's anger can mean someone's dead instead of going to the hospital for a broken arm. If I'm hell-bent on killing someone, you're right that I'll find a way, but the news is full of people who were killed in a heated moment because one of the combatants had a firearm.

> Also, it creeps me out that millions of people live on Manhattan, and all the government would have to do to enslave them all would be to put about 50 guys with machineguns and one tank on each bridge.

You can stop being creeped out, then. This isn't likely, as you can well imagine, and even if armed soldiers were put on every access point, it would break down fast. The reason behind this is the value of freedom in general; the general populace wouldn't stand for it, and those soldiers would learn the lesson that's been taught over and over in places all over the world.

> Another thing: why is it we always see moaning in the media about kids shooting kids, but we never hear cheering when a pretty young woman uses her pistol and her NRA training to blow away a would-be rapist?

Well, the obvious answer, which turns out to be more true than even I suspected, is that the "young woman defending herself" scenario doesn't happen as often as the "kids shooting kids" scenario. This is actually a cheer for the NRA training courses, in that an NRA-trained woman is less likely to find herself in a position to need her firearm than those kids, but the simple truth is that there aren't that many examples of "good gun use" in the news because in virtually all cases a person will encounter, the "good" use of lethal force is not to use it.

> Guns are also an equalizing factor. Think of what we have here: a device that can impose ultimate power / force over another human (threat of death), which requires only enough strength to hold the barrel steady and pull a trigger, and can be concealed easily under a coat or sweater.

The problem is that it raises everyone to the level of lethal force with very, very few exceptions. Because there are so few times in anyone's life where lethal force is necessary, and because it's virtually impossible to use a gun as a non-lethal weapon, that makes it a bad choice for most of the situations it's in. There are strong arguments that irresponsible use of lethal force requires restrictions on who's allowed to have it (go back to the convenience argument), and the fact that there aren't a lot of non-lethal options frankly doesn't excuse using lethal force in any but the most dire of circumstances. It's easy to argue that someone trying to kill you necessitates having a gun to defend yourself, but the number of real-world situations where having a gun would fix a problem that having a can of pepper spray wouldn't is vanishingly small. Drug-crazed assailants make for good anecdotes, but more people are killed every year by bee stings than by someone so hopped up that pepper spray wouldn't have stopped them.

> What better deterrant could there be to crime?

I'm going to go with "police force" on this one. You can throw out the old saw about how the police aren't legally required to defend you personally, but if you think that means that police have no deterrent effect on crime, you're deluding yourself.

> If every young, pretty woman in America had a pistol she knew how to shoot in her purse, and if every male knew it, how much rape do you think would happen?

Considering that the vast majority of rapes are perpetrated by someone the victim knows, I'd say not much less. This points up that too many gun owners seem to think that there are a myriad of situations where having a gun would be a panacea, where in real life, statistics are very good that you'll never encounter a situation that warrants using one. The majority of violent crimes are between attackers and victims that know each other, and again, going back to the argument of convenience, would the number of pretty young women saved by guns make up for the larger number of domestic violence victims who get a bullet instead of a fist? I admit that I don't know how it would shift, but you sidestepped this question yourself, and I'm not the one pushing the self-defense platform. You'll need to address it if you want to use it to forward your side of the argument.

> I'm not saying I love the idea of every human being carrying around the threat of single-serving ultimate force in their pocket, but it seems to be an equalizer of sorts. I think our society could use a little more equality.

I think the level of that equality is too high a force level for the untrained, and the large majority of gun owners have no real training in the use of the weapon. They may practice how to shoot, but no state in the Union requires courses in situational analysis (knowing when to shoot) and until they do arming the general public would be as hazardous as giving someone a driver's license after a criminal check and hoping they'll read up on the laws governing road use.

> All we need is a comprehensive system for matching each bullet to a gun and each gun to an owner, so we know who shot who.

Cop shows notwithstanding, most shootings are solved. It's not often a question of who shot whom. But knowing Bill shot his girlfriend for destroying his porn collection instead of punching her out doesn't make her any less dead.

> There is no legitimate need for fully automatic weapons for self-defense.

I'll agree here, although you should be aware that the full auto folks are doing it because they feel it's the only way to protect themselves from the government, so "self defense" in that case is a little hyperextended.

> Also, you may hit someone who's not involved in your crisis whatsoever, and that's just plain uncool.

Describing hitting an innocent bystander as "just plain uncool" is the pinnacle of understatement, and a large part of the reason why most people should not be allowed to carry small arms.

> The other angle is armor. Would criminals take to wearing kevlar before they go mug or rape someone? Possibly.

It's more likely they'll modify their attacks to compensate. You can't shoot someone who hits you over the head from behind, for example, or shoots you in the back.

> However, it still gives crime victims a fighting chance, because as of yet, bulletproof helmets aren't commonly available.

See above.

However, I do plan on getting, and being trained in the use of, a Taser when I can afford it. Next best thing, I guess.

Actually, get yourself a can of pepper spray. Get two, and practice using it indoors and out until the first one runs out. Then use the second for personal defense. It's better than a Taser for defense, since it's got better range and area-of-effect.

> And my days of bashing the guns-as-self-defense argument are over.

Good, but don't let that fall so far as to become "never bash". Guns are a tool, and a very, very specialized tool. With proper training, and used only in the proper situations, they can be (pun intended) a life saver. Just bash the people who don't understand that, and you'll find a good middle ground.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
You're nuts. (none / 1) (#347)
by sllort on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 05:38:56 PM EST

Well, the obvious answer, which turns out to be more true than even I suspected, is that the "young woman defending herself" scenario doesn't happen as often as the "kids shooting kids" scenario.

Defensive shootings: According to the FBI data, there were 1,412 justified homicides in the United States from 1987 through 1991.

School shootings: Since 1993, 82 students have been murdered in shootings at schools, according to the National School Safety Center..

The fraction 1412/82 is the "Truth Ratio" for your comment, where a number greater than 1 indicates a lie and a number less than 1 indicates the Truth. HTH!

Airbags out-murder school shootings for the entirety of the 1990s.

If someone breaks into your house, and you shoot a shotgun shell into your ceiling, and the intruder flees the premises instead of coming upstairs and beating your family to death with a baseball bat, does this count as a justified homicide?

No - because no one died.

But the gun still defended the house. Which is why using "justifiable homicides" as a yardstick for measuring the incidence of personal self defense with a firearm is reserved for crazy people. How many times has a cop won an argument because he had a gun on his hip? Why must every successful use of a gun for self defense involve the killing of the assailant - the worst case, 1% scenario?

Crime incidence statistics are as clear as day.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

softie (none / 2) (#289)
by RevLoveJoy on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 06:01:02 PM EST

Kasreyn,

I agree with much of what you said.

I wish to offer you a personal anecdote of a woman I know (the sister of a friend and coworker). This woman grew up in Los Angeles as I did and lived near a bad neighborhood. She was, like you, a softie / pacifist / idealist / humanist (I do not intend these terms to carry negative connotations) who believed that giving a criminal what they desired would be enough to free her from any altercation with life and limb but minus property (the "that's why we have insurance" argument).

The first time she was car jacked, this worked well. The thief was a professional who asked her to step from her vehicle and leave her purse. She did and he got in a drove away.

The second time she was car jacked she was shot twice: once in the thigh and once in the abdomen. The thief said nothing in advance; just walked up and opened fire. She survived no worse the wear after a couple weeks in the hospital.

The third time she was car jacked (yes, I know, time to move) she shot and killed her attacker.

To this day, I am not sure how to feel about all of this. I think that if I had her experience I would do the same thing. I think she was very unfortunate to be robbed three times in this manner. I think she is very fortunate to still be alive. Either way, she is the only person I know who tried to go it one way then made her choice to be armed and take a stand.

For what it's worth,
-- RLJ

Every political force in the U.S. that seeks to get past the Constitution by sophistry or technicality is little more than a wannabe king. -- pyro9
[ Parent ]

That's the downside, you see. :-\ (none / 2) (#316)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 12:12:16 AM EST

The thief said nothing in advance; just walked up and opened fire.

I'm guessing he did that because he was worried she had a gun, too, and thus whoever shot first would be the victor. And, of course, it greatly increases your chances of getting the first shot if you don't announce your intentions.

As more and more people get guns and arm themselves, I predict more and more criminals (the ones who were already prepared to back up their crime with violence) will simply strike pre-emptively like this, to cut down on their personal risk of the tables being turned.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
But there is another factor... (none / 2) (#339)
by skyknight on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:33:04 PM EST

The more people that have guns, the more likely a criminal is to be severely outnumbered in a public place. Would you mug someone on the street, shooting them preemptively, were it likely that several bystanders possessed weapons and were capable of returning fire? In that kind of a world, the only chance a criminal would have would be to catch you completely alone, and that's a lot harder to do.

I remember reading a new clip a couple of years ago and finding it interesting... A Palestinian opened up with a machine gun at an intersection somewhere in Israel, shooting indiscriminately into the crowd. No less than three different people pulled out handguns and brought down the assailant in a volley of fire. All said and done, only the instigator died.

Of course, the Middle East is a huge mess, and the Palestinian probably had very real grievances and was merely taking them out in a misdirected way, but we won't go into that. :-/



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
preemption and substitution (none / 0) (#409)
by izx on Thu Jan 22, 2004 at 05:17:36 PM EST

As more and more people get guns and arm themselves, I predict more and more criminals (the ones who were already prepared to back up their crime with violence) will simply strike pre-emptively like this, to cut down on their personal risk of the tables being turned.

That is certainly a valid supposition, but it doesn't happen as much as you might think. Someone you've shot preemptively can still shoot back and kill you (look at the story of Lance Thomas in LA). What happens instead is that criminals substitute safer non-confrontational (sneaky) crimes for confrontational ones - purse-snatching and pick-pocketing instead of armed robbery, for example. As far as I know some of this substitution effect has been seen in Florida and other shall-issue states.

Think about the psychology of this. A criminal wants to feel powerful, and to see the victim afraid of him. That just doesn't happen with an armed and ready victim. The tables are turned, and it is the criminal who is terrified and usually leaves in a hurry. That's why most real life armed-defense does not involve any shooting, just the threat or display of a weapon.

[ Parent ]

Legitimate need for automatic weapons... (2.75 / 4) (#342)
by skyknight on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:51:16 PM EST

As far as I know, my experience with automatic weapons being limited to simulations such as Counter-Strike, there are three purposes for automatic weapons. First is to lay down a heavy base of fire, intimidating opponents into a defensive position, rendering them unable to return fire, or possibly even forcing them to retreat. Second is to fire indiscriminately into an area that is of limited size, but larger than a person, "raking" the region with the knowledge that your target lies somewhere therein. Third is to put a whole lot of bullets into someone quickly, guaranteeing that they die within a very short time frame.

Of these three, only the third is apt to be legitimate in a civilian context. The first two are often valid tactics in military battle fields, but are too likely to accrue collateral damage in an environment such as an apartment complex or commercial building. You may, however, have a real need to make damn sure someone is dead. Consider the scenario where you surprise two or three burglars in your house. When you take down the first target, and sight your gun on the second, you better be damn sure that the first guy isn't just stunned and doesn't return fire after you've already written him off for done. This is also an argument for larger caliber handguns, or even a shotgun. If you put a .45 round or some buckshot through someone's center of mass, that's just about the end of that altercation.

You watch too many movies if you think the point of a weapon being automatic is so you can kill a whole bunch of people without ever letting go of the trigger. A skillful operator will release the trigger between each target, re-sighting the weapon before pulling the trigger again. After the first few rounds, an automatic weapon is apt to be spraying wildly out of control.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
very good comment (none / 0) (#408)
by izx on Thu Jan 22, 2004 at 04:47:56 PM EST

Just wanted to say that i really enjoyed reading this and I agree with most of your points. I had a similar journey/education from undecided to strongly pro-self-defense. One thing that was a surprise: once I got to know a few "gun people", I decided that I really like them as a group - they are generally very independent-minded, friendly, and smart. Yeah, that's a huge generalization, and it depends on where you are, and yeah, there are a few "commandos", but mostly it is a very good crowd. Try taking a range course, you might like the people you meet there.

[ Parent ]
Missing the forest for the trees... (2.33 / 15) (#60)
by rvcx on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 06:26:21 AM EST

Let's put aside the debate over how the words of the second amendment can be interpreted and go back to the original summary of this story (which is never actually addressed): Does the second amendment mean anything anymore?

The second amendment is the only amendment for which this is a sensible question to ask, since the Constitution explicitly states the assumptions on which the amendment is predicated.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state...
This assumption is clearly wrong. Every branch of government and a hugely overwhelming majority of the population agree that a militia is not a necessary (or effective) form of national defense. Militias were the only form of national defense included in the Constitution. It was soon realized that formal armed forces (Army, Navy, etc.) were a much better approach.

None of this negates the argument that the amendment is still "on the books" and must still be interpreted, but if it were not enshrined in the Bill of Rights I think it is clear that it would have been repealed long ago.

repealed? (2.50 / 4) (#110)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 02:09:04 PM EST

Let's put aside the debate over how the words of the second amendment can be interpreted and go back to the original summary of this story (which is never actually addressed): Does the second amendment mean anything anymore?

I'd say it pretty much bars the federal government from denying citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Which, hey, is pretty much what it says it does!

The second amendment is the only amendment for which this is a sensible question to ask, since the Constitution explicitly states the assumptions on which the amendment is predicated.

Well, there are other amendments, like the 9th and 10th, which are argued to have never meant anything.

This assumption is clearly wrong. Every branch of government and a hugely overwhelming majority of the population agree that a militia is not a necessary (or effective) form of national defense.

Well, it could also be argued that free state meant free state (the thing we have 50 of). A militia could be quite effective in protecting California, at least if the federal government didn't want to carpet bomb it, but rather to capture it. Furthermore, it's quite common to say that the National Guard is the militia being referred to. And it seems obvious to me that the National Guard is a necessary and effective protection of the United States as a whole.



[ Parent ]
A free state. (2.25 / 4) (#169)
by cburke on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:30:44 PM EST

This assumption is clearly wrong. Every branch of government and a hugely overwhelming majority of the population agree that a militia is not a necessary (or effective) form of national defense.

Sure, but it doesn't say "being necessary to national defense", it says "being necessary to the security of a free state", with emphasis mine.

You see, people these days may not like to remember it, but the Founders were painfully aware that freedom sometimes comes from a gun aimed at your oppressors.  I find it amazing that people deny this, since our first President was the leader of the armed revolution against the previous, lawful government.  

Militias were the only form of national defense included in the Constitution. It was soon realized that formal armed forces (Army, Navy, etc.) were a much better approach.

Utterly wrong.  The creation of the Army and Navy are given as powers separate from the Militia.  Also, the President commands the Army, Navy, and Militia; again given separately.  The latter indicates that the Militias belong to the States, not the Federal Government, further distinguishing them from the explicitly mentioned Army and Navy.  Therefore the Second Ammendment cannot be referring to the "military" in general, or in any case the sole means of defense of the nation.

So when you are reading the 2nd Ammendment, do it knowing that they are intentionally talking about a militia, and not the Army and Navy called for in Article I, Section 8.  By any definition of militia, that means they are specificially refering to armed civilian forces.

Why armed civilian forces are necessary to the security of a free state, and thus why the people are granted the right to keep and bear arms, is left as an exercise for the reader.

[ Parent ]

The second Amendment is of great use (1.05 / 19) (#66)
by United Fools on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:36:32 AM EST

to bin Laden for trying to own weapons of mass destruction.
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
he is not an american (nt) (1.50 / 4) (#142)
by JyZude on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 05:34:48 PM EST


-----
k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye


[ Parent ]
what is it with americans and guns? (2.05 / 17) (#90)
by the sixth replicant on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:54:11 AM EST

what about overthrowing a government in the sytle of King and Gandhi? if the government is going to fuck you around then the best thing to do is to GET INVOLVED IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS and make sure that THERE IS A GOOD DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND powr! just because you have gun in your lap doesn't mean you're aren't going to be fucked by the people in power

this 10 year old attitude that we gotta get the baddies and shoot them cowboy style isn't the way to do it

in fact what happens if all the people with the most guns suddenly want a facist government? so the 2nd amendment just means the people with the most weapons has the most power - and guess who they are : the rich and powerful. precisely the same people that you think you will need to fight against.

you guys are really arguing about the colour of the cage you're in aren't you? meanwhile the wardens just laugh

ciao

they won't hear you... (1.40 / 5) (#119)
by Run4YourLives on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:16:44 PM EST

If they didn't hear the sounds of their buildings falling down, they won't hear you.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
used nonviolence against US and UK government (none / 0) (#231)
by nlscb on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:45:50 AM EST

Despite what you might say about how clearly more horrible the US and UK are as opposed to the lovable likes of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and while I happen to think highly of both MLK and the big G, they had the slight advantage of protesting against democratically elected governments of civil sociteties that happened to be acting horribly, not horrible tyrrannies to begin with

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Let's not forget #3! (2.00 / 7) (#96)
by nlscb on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 12:12:45 PM EST

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law I am appalled that no one has brought the pressing threats to this one lately!

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

And #9! (none / 1) (#109)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:56:55 PM EST

The ones that conservatives and libertarians like to argue doesn't mean anything.

[ Parent ]
WTF (none / 1) (#117)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:13:57 PM EST

Since when were libertarians against the ninth amendment?

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

I didn't say that were against it (none / 1) (#124)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:00:58 PM EST

but that it doesn't mean anything.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand (none / 1) (#120)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 03:24:14 PM EST

In what way do libertarians feel that Am IX doesn't mean anything?

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]
arnt libs strict constructionists/anti-federalist? (none / 2) (#123)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:00:24 PM EST

What is the libertarian position on Lawrence and Garner v. Texas?

[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 1) (#130)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:23:11 PM EST

And as such, they believe whole-heartedly in the words of the Ninth Amendment. They support Lawrence and Garner, of course.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]
Clearly (none / 2) (#132)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:32:19 PM EST

they believe in the words of the Ninth Amendment. But that's not to say anything about whether those words have any meaning. In any case, I think it's clear that some Libertarians don't support Lawrence v Texas. Harry Browne for example doesn't even support Roe v Wade, on which Lawrence v Texas was based.

[ Parent ]
He's not exactly a bellweather for the party (none / 1) (#134)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:42:21 PM EST

Sure, he's the candidate, but libertarians are such a diverse group.

Besides, while the legal arguments for Lawrence v TX and Roe v Wade are similar, there's real moral discrepancy. With abortion, you're not talking about two consenting adults: you're talking about a mother making a decision that may not be in the best interest of her child. I'd rather not get into a discussion on abortion, but I hope you can at least appreciate the difference and how a libertarian could come to support one ruling and not the other.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

He's their candidate for President... (1.25 / 4) (#136)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:51:06 PM EST

At the very least, a plurality of the party agrees that he best represents their interests on a federal level.

Besides, while the legal arguments for Lawrence v TX and Roe v Wade are similar, there's real moral discrepancy.

The Constitution is a legal document, not a moral document.

With abortion, you're not talking about two consenting adults: you're talking about a mother making a decision that may not be in the best interest of her child.

What are you talking about? Most women who have abortions don't even have children.

I'd rather not get into a discussion on abortion, but I hope you can at least appreciate the difference and how a libertarian could come to support one ruling and not the other.

Yes. However, that is not Harry Browne's argument. "As president, I will have a litmus test: Does the judicial candidate believe absolutely that the federal government has no authority beyond the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution?" If the government has no power to protect the rights not enumerated in the Constitution, then that makes the 9th Amendment pretty meaningless, now doesn't it?



[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's what I was hoping to avoid (none / 1) (#139)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:58:25 PM EST

Most women who have abortions don't even have children.

...

"As president, I will have a litmus test: Does the judicial candidate believe absolutely that the federal government has no authority beyond the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution?"

Key phrase: Federal government. IOW, it has no authority to ban abortions any more than it has the authority to prevent a state from doing so.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

avoid it by not saying it (none / 1) (#141)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 05:17:38 PM EST

IOW, it has no authority to ban abortions any more than it has the authority to prevent a state from doing so.

Nor would it have any authority to ban sodomy or authority to prevent a state from doing so. So you agree that Harry Browne most likely is opposed to Lawrence v Texas, right? Do you still contend that most Libertarians disagree with Harry Browne on this point?

Alternatively, what good is the 9th Amendment, from a Libertarian point of view? Or do you agree with me?



[ Parent ]
You misunderstand (none / 2) (#152)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:53:50 PM EST

Just because he believes that the Federal government has no power to mandate it at a Federal level doesn't mean he believes the states do have the power to mandate it at the state level. I don't know enough about Mr. Browne's opinions to know whether he personally agrees with Lawrence v TX or not. If he doesn't, he's not much of a mainstream libertarian, though, and would probably be better off in, say, the Natural Law party.

Most big-government types believe an essential part of the Federal government's job is to protect us from the state governments. Mr. Browne (along with a sizeable number of libertarians) don't see it this way. (Not to say that the Fed gov't should never step in -- clearly apeals are a case in which it must -- just that it's not a primary responsibility.) The popularity of this view is largely a result of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement that resulted.

The good of the 9th Am is simple. It was meant to protect us against a certain type of strict-constructionist interpretation: one that favored the interest of governments (Federal or state) over the people. Unfortunately, reserving rights for the people has become passé in these modern times. IIRC, even Roe v Wade had 14th Am due process restrictions at the heart of the "right to privacy" justification.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]

No, you misunderstand (none / 1) (#162)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:04:01 PM EST

Just because he believes that the Federal government has no power to mandate it at a Federal level doesn't mean he believes the states do have the power to mandate it at the state level.

However, just because the states don't have the power to mandate it at the state level, doesn't mean federal judges have the right to determine state laws.

I don't know enough about Mr. Browne's opinions to know whether he personally agrees with Lawrence v TX or not. If he doesn't, he's not much of a mainstream libertarian, though, and would probably be better off in, say, the Natural Law party.

You seem to know nothing about libertarianism. Most of them are strict contructionists. Strict constructionists oppose Lawrence v Texas.

The good of the 9th Am is simple. It was meant to protect us against a certain type of strict-constructionist interpretation: one that favored the interest of governments (Federal or state) over the people.

Nor do you seem to understand the 9th Amendment.



[ Parent ]
And #10! (none / 1) (#135)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:42:46 PM EST

"The Tenth Amendment...added nothing to the [Constitution] as originally ratified." - United States v. Sprague

[ Parent ]
I actually agree with that (none / 2) (#153)
by curien on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:57:53 PM EST

But only because of the huge role the Elastic Clause has taken in expanding the power of the Federal government. It also counters many readers who argue that the Preamble is non-normative. Too bad judges don't bother to pay attention to the short, sweet amendments.

--
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
[ Parent ]
I don't think you understand it... (none / 1) (#156)
by dipierro on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:30:19 PM EST

The point is, it's already true, whether the tenth amendment was passed or not.

[ Parent ]
Diary entry for ya (none / 3) (#100)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:01:10 PM EST

Here, goes over some of the reasons for the 2nd Amendment.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

I'm with the Conservatives on this one. (2.69 / 13) (#127)
by tthomas48 on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:06:10 PM EST

Once Bush starts rounding up for the death camps I want to be prepared.

subject not new but interesting (1.11 / 9) (#137)
by rjnagle on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 04:54:34 PM EST

Yes, I was well aware of the Morton Grove case, and it is a clear example of how the 2nd amendment just isn't what NRA says it means. To understand, you have to look at judicial history and precedent. The judicial history of the 2nd amendment seems more geared to state militias and the right of states to make military decisions. It's similar to the creationists who insist that evolution hasn't been demonstrated conclusively yet. They can argue until they're blue in the face (and maybe some gullible people will believe them), but creationist theory for the most part has been and will continue to be rejected by respected scientists. The interesting part of this article is the idea that state constitutions can provide guarantee for the right to bear arms. I personally wouldn't want to live in such a state, but this is federalism at its best. Those who oppose gun control should not be arguing from a constitutional perspective, but from a utilitarian perspective.

i'd rather have (2.08 / 12) (#158)
by Suppafly on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 08:48:13 PM EST

the right to keep and arm bears.
---
Playstation Sucks.
My God! (1.50 / 6) (#210)
by Kax on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:52:19 AM EST

You are so fucking witty! Hahahahahahahahahahaha

[ Parent ]
Being concerned about the future of our nation,... (1.13 / 15) (#165)
by K5 Troll Authority on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 09:58:38 PM EST

I must bring to this group's attention the disconcerting actions of a few members of the NRA. These people's idea of proper education is to give automatic weapons to their kids and let them shoot at wild animals for fun.

I ask, if a 8 year old boy shoots squirrels for fun, what will he shoot when he becomes a disgruntled teenager? I can't sleep when I think of what America will become. School shootings will only become more common, and the day of hunting people in the streets only comes closer.

K5: we get laid more than Slashdot goons — TheGreenLantern

Let me think... (none / 3) (#167)
by felixrayman on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:12:51 PM EST

I ask, if a 8 year old boy shoots squirrels for fun, what will he shoot when he becomes a disgruntled teenager?

Iraqis?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Why not? (none / 0) (#261)
by Del Monte Cyber Monkey on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 02:19:38 PM EST

Looks like they're doing it now...

Ah, Del Monte!


[ Parent ]
Oh, well, that was a nice troll (2.00 / 5) (#168)
by pyramid termite on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:13:07 PM EST

And the page you linked to was written by a clueless and utterly prejudiced moron.

So, in the spirit of your post, let me ask you a question - why should people in the country have to give up their guns just because a bunch of irresponsible urban halfwits can't solve their disputes without shooting each other? It's no skin off OUR asses if you kill each other off - we'll just go on shooting deer and squirrels happily.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Makes some questions a lot clearer (none / 3) (#172)
by melia on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 10:59:59 PM EST

I didn't read the article, but two things occured to me while scanning it and the comments.
  • Why are Americans so wierdly scared of their own government? It's an impression you really don't get from other Western democracies.
  • This might sound a bit facile, but if the government is that scary, how's a little bit of paper going to stop it? It's all well and good rabbiting on about the law, but it all comes down to who the Army sides with. I can't think of another standing army that could "beat" yours, let alone a miltia. Four Texans with a rifle each, I mean seriously.

Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[cheap shot] (3.00 / 4) (#177)
by _Quinn on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:41:08 PM EST

You'll note, however, that all of the other Western democracies are also scared of America's government.

- _Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]

Answers (none / 3) (#192)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:25:46 AM EST

The answer to your first point likely has to do with the fact that America basicaly came into being through an armed insurrection against our own Government (King George III at the time) and that had a drastic effect on the character of the men who shaped this country and our national character ever since.

Though if I was Germany I would be downright terrified of my own government....it seems odd to me that they are not.

The answer to your second point is that when our government starts ignoring that little piece of paper is how we know that our fears are coming to fruition.

Although, I describe myself as a Conservative and like GWB better then any of the democratic contentenders. I have to say that even I am starting to get a little bit concerned. This article and the previous one on the Bill of Rights have reminded me just how bruised that little piece of paper has become.

[ Parent ]

George W Bush (none / 3) (#194)
by leviramsey on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:52:44 AM EST

And his neocon cronies have managed to redefine conservative to mean socialist; indeed, most of them have histories as socialists and you cannot trust a leopard to change its spots.

The GOP: The Socialist Party of the United States



[ Parent ]
The Democrats (none / 0) (#219)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:14:15 AM EST

have traditionally been more "socialist" than the Republicans. They are the ones for redistributing wealth and growing bigger and bigger government. Though I will admit, Bush has been growing government like crazy himself.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Come on now.... (none / 2) (#198)
by FuriousXGeorge on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:50:31 AM EST

Americans are scared because right now our goverment is the most powerful in the world.  They control unknown (read: massive) amounts of WMD.

If the American people fail to elect the right person, the world could end in 5 minutes.

It scares me shitless that any country on earth has that much power and it should do the same to you.
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

no, we are not scared, we are distrustful (none / 1) (#226)
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:37:22 AM EST

and the reason we are is because that is the culture we were raised in ever since the revolution.

trust yourself, not the government. that has been the mantra.

[ Parent ]

The Federalist Papers (2.83 / 12) (#175)
by IHCOYC on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:30:39 PM EST

I have no doubt but that the Federalist Papers support an interpretation that the "original intent" of the Second Amendment was something fairly close, if not identical, to the position of the extreme nutcases of the red mud gun culture. Madison, writing in The Federalist no. 46, puts forth the position that the militias of the States can easily defeat the Federal government if it tries to arrogate too much power into its own hands:
The only refuge left for those who prophecy the downfall of the State Governments, is the visionary supposition that the Foederal Government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. . .

[After estimating the number of professional soldiers he thought the country could support at the time at 30,000 maximum, Madison continued---]

To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.

The Second Amendment, in Madison's view, preserved the right of State governments to muster their local militias to make war against the Federal Government if the central government got out of hand. Nothing at all to do with hunting, and only very remotely to do with personal self-defence against crime, the Second Amendment means more or less what it seems to say.

The difficulty with this interpretation is not with "original intent," but with history. It seems that in the years intervening between 1789 and the present, there was a minor dust-up called the Civil War. And despite the continued wishful thinking of those who would have preferred that it ended different, one outcome of the Civil War was to toss the notion that the States have a right to make war against the Federal government on the dustbin of history where it belongs. In the real world, the States cannot hope to challenge the U.S. army. In the real world, the Second Amendment is obsolete, and can be considered a dead letter.

Not that gun control would solve anything; the only thing that would do much good that I can figure is a concerted effort to wean the people from media-fueled paranoia and moral panics. We won't do much about gun violence until we change the American character, and that's mostly beyond the reach of mere politics. But the Second Amendment once meant something: it no longer does.
 --
Solum semel vitam percurris; ergo maximo gusto fruere, tanto quo potes.
     --- Seneca

Rule by law, not rule by men (none / 2) (#181)
by felixrayman on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:51:17 PM EST

So given the choice between rule by men and rule by law, you choose rule by men. At that point, shouldn't we just choose a king?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Touch not God's anointed (none / 3) (#203)
by IHCOYC on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 08:04:36 AM EST

I believe that the U.S. ought to say "we're sorry" to England and submit once more to the English crown. . .

. . . at least, as soon as they bring back the Stuarts.
Frankly, what this country does need is a revival of the aristocratic principle. What Bush v. Gore ought to show us, of whatever political stripe, is that not everyone can aspire to becoming President of the United States. We already have patrician dynasties of our own. We would be better poised to evaluate them were they not compelled to resort to faux-populist rhetoric in order to excite and incite the selfish and ignorant peasantry.
 --
Solum semel vitam percurris; ergo maximo gusto fruere, tanto quo potes.
     --- Seneca
[ Parent ]
American character ? (none / 2) (#209)
by kurioszyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:50:59 AM EST

"We won't do much about gun violence until we change the American character,"

You don't know anything about so called "gun violence" do you ?

How about the fact that the crime rate among US whites is about the same as it is among Europeans , most "gun friendly" states tend to have low crime rates etc ... etc ...

To summarize - American character my ass ...

[ Parent ]

Not a question of race: geography and culture (none / 3) (#240)
by IHCOYC on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:57:10 AM EST

crime rate among US whites is about the same as it is among Europeans. . .
The ugly little secret is that dozens of sources, including this Rice University study (caution, PDF) indicates that there is a "strong, positive relationship between violent crime and states categorized as being in the south."

Here, their crime rate is slight compared to that of local whites with cat-getting-its-tail-pulled accents. It definitely seems to me to be a cultural problem, not a racial one.
 --
Fashion is the sister of Death
     --- Giacomo Leopardi
[ Parent ]

Not so much the Civil War (none / 2) (#216)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:59:23 AM EST

but the absorption of the militias into a "National Guard" - which is utterly dependent on the Feds for funding.

Thus, in the absence of true state militias, shouldn't the right to self-defense devolve to the citizenry?

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

Used against you, you would hate this argument. (none / 1) (#271)
by sllort on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:46:58 PM EST

Since the founders reason for enacting the Amendment was (in your opinion) removed, the Amendment dissolves - this is valid? If it is, the Constitution itself is completely worthless, as the British Empire and the rest of the reasons the Constitution were written are all gone with the wind.

Your argument, of course, is complete bullshit - neither our right to Free Speech nor our right to Bear Arms can be removed without a constitutional amendment to that affect - but you're welcome to continue jerking yourself off to that effect.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Not at all the same situation (none / 2) (#279)
by IHCOYC on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:51:01 PM EST

This is not a situation where the "reason" for the amendment has been removed. What has been removed instead is the possibility of the situation ever arising for its exercise.

What if the amendment said,

You have the right to own and use a sword for self-defence.
When the amendment was written, a sword was a reasonable and useful tool for such a purpose. But over the intervening centuries, as a weapon for self defence the sword was overtaken by other, more effective weapons to which you, unfortunately, are not guaranteed access. As a result, people stopped buying and making swords. The only ones available are costly antiques in dubious states of repair; or the fake ones they sell to Highlander fans, neither of which is what you need to exercise the right.

You might argue that because swords just don't work for self-defence like they used to, that you have the right to some other weapon that works better; or that you have a right to keep swords for some other purpose. Were the Constitution rightly interpreted, you might get somewhere with these arguments. But if you stick to plain language and "original intent," you're dead in the water.
 --
Fashion is the sister of Death
     --- Giacomo Leopardi
[ Parent ]

The Iraqi resistance disagrees. (none / 2) (#323)
by sllort on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 10:11:26 AM EST

"What has been removed instead is the possibility of the situation ever arising for its exercise."

As myself and others have pointed out, this is incorrect.

That straw man enflamed, you cannot negate a law because in your intellectual opinion, "the situation cannot arise". Bush could as easily decide that the situation of speech being infringed "could not arise".
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

You're right, 2nd Amendment is a waste of time (none / 1) (#351)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 07:42:26 PM EST

So is the first. Religous worship causes more trouble than it's worth, and groups of people assembling to demand that grievances be addressed are liable to riot.

The Fourth Amendment is pretty useless too. People with nothing to hide don't mind being searched, after all.

When the framers pondered freedom of speech, they envisioned men of letters publishing newspapers or pamphlets and exchanging coorespondence. The modern mass media and public internet forums have made it impossible for rational and coherent thought to reach the masses. Thus the First Amendment is obsolete.

[ Parent ]

That's what happens. (1.62 / 8) (#176)
by V on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 11:32:38 PM EST

When you treat ancient babblery as wisdom.
---
What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens
Better than the babblery of children (none / 2) (#214)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:55:10 AM EST

who lack both the perspective and knowledge to be wise.

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

pay attention... (none / 1) (#184)
by pb on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:15:20 AM EST

s/Second Amendment/Bill of Rights/g
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
RE: pay attention... (none / 0) (#385)
by bheerssen on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 02:40:02 PM EST

Replace the second ammendment with the bill of rights? Heh, I think you got it wrong. I'm going out on limb here and guessing that you think the second ammendment should be removed from the bill of rights. In that case the expression would be:

$bill_of_rights =~ s/Second Ammendment//;

[ Parent ]

yes... (none / 0) (#386)
by pb on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 03:49:30 PM EST

...if you replace "second amendment" with "the bill of rights" in that story, you get a more accurate picture of what's going on, as my link points out.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Very convincing article... (none / 3) (#197)
by FuriousXGeorge on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:44:32 AM EST

I waffle alot on the 2nd ammendment issue.  The fact is, neither side is right.  

People should not be allowed to own whatever gun they want, and they shouldn't be restricted from owning whatever gun they want.

In this mind boggling situation, I defer to the bill of rights, the 2nd ammendment should stand as described in this article.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!

That may be so (1.37 / 8) (#202)
by ComradeFork on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:44:35 AM EST

However, I think that the bigger issue is that general populace should be allowed to have nukes. In fact, I think it is a duty that the more revolutionary Americans should be allowed nukes.

Responsable people will not use their nukes in the wrong situation. If you criminalise nukes, only criminals will have nukes.

Well, that's exactly the situation we have now! (none / 2) (#212)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:53:36 AM EST

/ If you criminalise nukes, only criminals will have nukes./

Precisely my point, sir! How can I forego being a personal nuclear power when I live in constant fear of being Bush-whacked?

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

one doeds not need a Nuke (none / 1) (#223)
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:30:04 AM EST

or even assault rifles to take on a modern millitary.

besides that, if peopel in the US ever did take up arms, what do you think the odds are that most will have assault rifles since they are going to be branded rebles and traters why not use assault rifles or morters or anything else you get your hands on?

at any rate, high powered hunting rifles and hand guns in the hands of most of the population is a big threat to a governmnet who's standing army is outnumbered by the deer hunters in Michigan.

did you know that Kruschev did not even want to consider contingencies that involved invading the US because all the hunters and gun owners would make it to costly to them.

[ Parent ]

Um (none / 2) (#293)
by ComradeFork on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 06:53:24 PM EST

Do you have the slightest idea?

[ Parent ]
slightest idea of what? (none / 2) (#307)
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:43:45 PM EST

you had a malformed question.

[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 3) (#314)
by ComradeFork on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:29:08 PM EST

It was a stupid comment. I read your post and I couldn't believe that anyone was actually that dumb. My fault :P

[ Parent ]
how about a more constructive reponce (none / 0) (#383)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 12:18:47 PM EST

since it would seem that you think I am stupid based  only on the fact that I do not have the same opinion as you do.

I think you need to learn the diffrence between stupid person and stupid opinion.

[ Parent ]

An honest question... (2.57 / 7) (#205)
by lurker4hire on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:26:22 AM EST

echoing an earlier poster, except I'll make this comment topical.

Why do americans have such an attachment to their constitution as originally written? Isn't there any room for change, or was it really all nailed down for eternity back in the 18th century?

Take the gun issue, I just don't understand what the big deal is about regulating sales, requiring permits, restricting models, etc is... it doesn't mean that responsible people cannot own guns, as far as I can tell, those types of regs are designed to ensure that only responsible people own guns.

I am reminded on a family friend of mine, huge gun enthusiast (especially handguns), who loves gun regulation and thinks the stronger the regs the better. In his view, taking the courses and learing all about the proper care and storage, as well as proper use, of a firearm should be mandatory. As far as he was concerned, taking the time to learn those thing, get the proper license, store his firearms properly (locked cabinets, seperate for ammo, etc), was what seperated the gun enthusiast from the criminal. The gun enthusiast cared for the gun and its place in society, where the criminal just uses the gun to get what he wants.

The eighteenth century (none / 1) (#206)
by IHCOYC on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:37:10 AM EST

Lacking a common ancestry, and (in the past, at least) practising a large diversity of economies and lifestyles over many different climates, some kind of culture hero had to be proposed in order to foster an artificial sort of national unity. The eighteenth century American revolutionaries were made into those figureheads, epitomised in the person of George Washington, the figure who best represents the transition from the revolutionary era to the quite different Federalist era.

Despite the fact that their patrician attitudes, distrust of virulent passions, and general eighteenth century outlook would make them all unelectable today, they continue to serve as the tutelary gods of the Republic. The remoteness of their world from ours only serves to make the political document they came up with the object of dumb but reverent incomprehension.
 --
Solum semel vitam percurris; ergo maximo gusto fruere, tanto quo potes.
     --- Seneca
[ Parent ]

Guns (none / 3) (#207)
by kurioszyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:47:52 AM EST

You see the problem is that in just about every case  (Australia, UK, Canada) gun registration/regulation was the precursor to confiscation.

[ Parent ]
But what's the problem... (none / 0) (#213)
by lurker4hire on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:54:42 AM EST

... with confiscating guns from those who are not responsible about their gun ownership???

[ Parent ]
By which you mean "everyone", I assume. (none / 2) (#215)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:56:02 AM EST

Since everyone ends up losing their guns in these schemes.

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

That is not true (none / 0) (#218)
by lurker4hire on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:02:45 AM EST

There are millions of legal, rule respecting, gun owners in Canada. I'm not sure about Britain or Austrailia, but I suspect it's the same.

[ Parent ]
That's not my understanding. (none / 1) (#266)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:32:26 PM EST

In both Britain and Australia, privately owned weapons can't be kept at home. You have to keep them at "approved" clubs. Perfect for self-defense.

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

Brit Muggers Are Very Accomidating (none / 1) (#274)
by The Turd Report on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:22:25 PM EST

Mugger: "This is a 'old up, mate. Give me your money!"
Guy: "Bloddy 'ell.  My weapon is at the club.  Would you mind if we do this there, old chap?"
Mugger: "Sure.  No worries; let's go."
Guy: "Thanks."

[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#403)
by OAB on Wed Jan 21, 2004 at 07:52:57 PM EST

The UK does not allow hand guns at all, rifles and shotguns can be kept at home in a gun locker (my step-fathers is a rather fetching shade of pink). Using deadly force against a mugger will get you arrested, and if the mugger was not about to shoot you, will most probably get you sent down.

[ Parent ]
Apparently, Canada's gun laws are paper only... (none / 1) (#273)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:03:40 PM EST

Despite dropping a billion dollars (Canadian, I assume), six of Canada's 10 provinces refuse to prosecute anyone failing to comply with the registration law.

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

The gun registry database... (none / 1) (#298)
by lurker4hire on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 07:16:52 PM EST

... is only a small part of the total regulatory framework regarding firearms in canada, a miserable failure for certain.

Although I can't be bothered to get 100% reliable information (ie: i'm not going to research this to death in order to 'win' an internet debate), Canada's firearms regulations also include (in my understanding); requirements for owner education, idenity verification (stiffer than american), licensing, restrictions on which models are available, increasing burden on people who wish to own semi-automatic, or automatic weapons (I'm not sure these are even available, but I'm guessing if you're willing to jump through some pretty complex hoops you could get one), and probably most importantly (in contrast to the US) a fairly tight reign on who can sell guns.

Regardless, I understand the desire not to be treated as a criminal just because you own a gun, however I just don't understand the complete abhorence towards, in my view, seemingly reasonable restrictions in the name of the greater good.

[ Parent ]

Thanks for the info. (none / 1) (#320)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 07:57:19 AM EST

I was trying to educate myself on Canadian gun control laws, and the registry was the first thing I hit.

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

Sure (none / 0) (#276)
by kurioszyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:41:00 PM EST

Well, the only problem is how you define who is and who isn't a responsible person ?


[ Parent ]
Please don't mention Canada (none / 1) (#257)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:58:07 PM EST

in your list as you are clearly miss-informed.

Despite our strict gun control and gun registry laws we have a HIGHER per-capita rate of gun ownership that the US. Most people I know have guns. Now the majority of these guns are hunting rifles and shot guns. Some are collectors items and family heirlooms (like my great-granfather's Damasus-wrap shotgun and Pepper Box Deringer and my grandfather's Webley service revolver from WWII). Some are modern handguns for those whose profession requires a gun or who are member of shooting clubs.

So spread your "precursor to confiscation." FUD elsewhere please. And while our criminals have guns,most of them come from the US. Since they aren't availabe legally here, it's hard to find them illegally (like breaking into somebody's house or a gun shop). So if you Yanks clean up your mess with the NRA saying it's OK to own an M16 or AK-47 or MAC 10 for hunting, then our criminals will have a much harder time finding these guns.

And considering our crime rate and rate of gun violence, even in cities comparable to the US (like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal), it seems to be working.

If I'm wrong, please give examples of the Canadian Government confiscating guns en-masse (or even from a single person who was NOT convicted of an indictable offence).
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Canada (none / 1) (#275)
by kurioszyn on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:36:50 PM EST

NRA doesn't claim AK-47s or other semi-automatic weapons are "for hunting".
Their point is that it is our basic right to own firearms for defense/sport/hunting and consequently we don't need to explain or rationalize this right the same way we don't need to rationalize any other basic right ( free speech for example.)

BTW. so called assault-weapons constitute less then 1% of weapons used during crimes so don't give me that bullshit about AK-47 and other semi-automatic weapons.

The crime ridden cities (Chicago, LA) have a long standing bans on just about every firearm - interestingly, places like Indiana or Nevada where nearly everyone walks around with some sort of weapon are not exactly known for their terrifying crime rates.

As far as confiscation:
http://www.nraila.org/Issues/Articles/Read.aspx?ID=4

[ Parent ]

See that's the big difference (none / 1) (#331)
by JohnnyCannuk on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 01:49:57 PM EST

between Americans and Canadians. A gun is a tool. Use it to hunt or guard your stuff or what ever. It's a tool. In the US, this "tool" has become a right like free speech. In Canada, we have never had illusions that a gun was anything more than a tool. We never have had a right to bear arms, because we never saw the need for it.

BTW, whether a City bans a gun or not is irrelevant. City bylaws mean jack, when anybody can walk into a store (even within the city that "bans" the guns) and walk out an hour later with a tool that serves no other purpose than to kill another human (I don't know about you, but I have never heard of anyone hunting deer with a Glauk 9mm).

As for you "confiscation" proof, that is laughable. An article written by the NRA is proof that Canada confiscates guns? Do you know what FUD is? Or Propoganda? I'm quite sure the NRA would happily report if our gun laws worked, wouldn't they? Ok, now, let me say this so you can understand, from an actual Canadian who owns guns, including hand guns (Gramps' Webley, remember?): The so-called confiscation in the article did not happen, as they say, a the "stroke of a pen." This was to close a loop-hole that existed in our handgun laws that have been on the books for more than 30 years - banning easily concealled guns like Saturday Night Specials and such. Since the only people who posses these apart from a collector are criminls, it made it a crime to posses a .32. Did the NRA bother to report that you can become a registered collector in about 1 week, after filling out a form, paying a fee and having a police check run? The only time people were turned down was when they had a criminal record and order from a court barring them from owning a or possessing a gun. The closing of this loophole was requested for many years by the Candian Association of Chiefs of Police. Many governments have actually been critisized for not doing this years ago.

How do I know all this? My brother "became" a collector this way so we could keep our Great Grandfather's pepper box. Oh yeah, did you know that most historical guns are exempt from this? Naw, the NRA would never say that, it doesn't help their case.

Just so you know, I clearly think, your gun laws and Second Amendment are ridiculous. But it is your country and I will defer to you on the facts of your own country. But I am asking you to believe the actual gun-owning Canadian with no agenda in your political arena rather than the non-Canadian organization with a BIG agenda in it when it comes to the state of "gun control" in my country. Bottom line, whine about restrictions and regulations and registries all you want, I, as an honest Canadian citizen and gun owner, can still purchase a gun and ammunition in this country for hunting and what not. And my guns have never been confiscated.

Oh and BTW, unless your going hunting, when you come to Canada, leave your guns at home. Thanks.
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Canada (none / 0) (#368)
by kurioszyn on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 02:49:19 PM EST

?City bylaws mean jack, when anybody can walk into a store (even within the city that "bans" the guns) and walk out an hour later with a tool that serves no other purpose than to kill another human (I don't know about you, but I have never heard of anyone hunting deer with a Glauk 9mm).?

Hell, why don?t we ban all handguns  ? including police , army etc ?
After all they don?t have any other purpose than to kill other  human beings and we don?t want cops killing people do we ?

The 2nd is NOT about Glocks or guns in general but rather about people's right to self-defense.
Do you understand that very basic concept ?

"Do you know what FUD is?"

It is NOT FUD.

Perhaps Canada doesn't belong on that list yet but how do you know your country won't go the way Australian and UK gun laws evolved ?

It certainly has been the case in other places that registration was eventually followed by some sort of confiscation.

Bottom line is that while you seem to think your gun laws are sensible, from my perspective they are not and that's why your country was included on my list.


[ Parent ]

Because it was designed to protect (none / 3) (#208)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:49:15 AM EST

the freedoms that Americans traditionally hold dear.

Please keep in mind that while most of the world sees socialist government as an improvement over the generally repressive monarchies that came before1, most Americans are only 2 or 3 generations removed from a time when it was still possible to live in absolute liberty. Even those who lived in the coastal cities could escape the government with just a few days ride out into the country.

Thus, every attempt to "protect" us is perceived as an attempt to "control" us.

A significant percentage of the population still lives that way. As far as an Iowa farmer is concerned, the citizens of Paris don't even live on the same planet he does, let along share similar concerns.

1 Yes, yes - certain northern european countries have a tradition of being very liberal. The are also culturally and racially monolithic. It's not hard to have all the freedoms you actually want when everyone thinks in similar ways. The test of liberty comes when you find you're different from everyone around you.

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

Ok, I understand that... (none / 0) (#217)
by lurker4hire on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:59:53 AM EST

... but although it was designed to protect those freedoms, is it actually working? What about the unintended consequences?

[ Parent ]
It was, up until fairly recently. (none / 1) (#270)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:40:58 PM EST

As I mentioned in another article, the federal government has managed to short circuit the entire structure of the country by grabbing the lion's share of the tax revenue. This puts them in control of the states, no matter what the constitution says.

As for unintended consequences; given that privately owned guns are more likely to be used in defense than to commit crime, I'm not sure what you mean.

Certainly strict gun laws haven't prevented Britain's crime from rising to approach American levels, nor has relaxing gun laws caused an increase in crime in those areas of the US that have done so in the past decade.

--
"the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and c
[ Parent ]

Amendments (none / 2) (#222)
by p3d0 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:29:00 AM EST

If something is wrong with the Constitution, amend it. Otherwise, it should be followed, or what the hell is it for?
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
regulation...vs...violation (none / 3) (#224)
by DenOfEarth on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:31:42 AM EST

I am not completely sure where I stand on the gun control issue. I live in canada, and have just watched our nations gun control program eat up a huge sum of money that it was not supposed to from the beginning. I suppose that many people believe that this is for a good cause, which is basically the "let's prevent bad people from getting guns" cause. I have no problem with that cause, except for the fact that bad people will find a way to get these things without going through the regulations, without registering their weapons, and without giving a whoopie about whether it is illegal or not.

It's kind of like prostitution I suppose. So the government has made it illegal, and that's fair, but now all my taxes go to paying more police officers to enforce a law against prostitution, but guess what...it's still going on. I find it hard to believe that simply by the government making something illegal, people will stop doing it.

This thought is even more troubling as I know several family members of mine who own guns, including my father. Our family has a history of hunting in it (I ate a lot of moose-meat growing up), and I am willing to say that those family members aren't going to rob a bank anytime soon. Yet they have to register their guns, taking time and money of their own to do it, when they aren't really the problem. If there was no gun control, they would still have their guns, they would still go hunting, and knowing my family, they would take their safety precautions in the interest of keeping their family safe. That fact, along with the fact that I don't think our government should be throwing a billion canadian dollars at something when that money could be used in a much more useful manner (give some to school-teachers, or maybe buy some more MRI machines for the country, or even throw that money at the debt and/or give us a tax break).

It is a tough issue though, and surprisingly touchy. In the end, I don't think that I can support gun control for the very fact that laws can easily be seen in the past to not really have stopped bad people from doing bad things, they (laws) can only classify more people as being 'bad'.



[ Parent ]
The Living Document (none / 0) (#396)
by LobsterGun on Tue Jan 20, 2004 at 10:57:08 AM EST

Somewhere along the line, the Supereme Court of the US declared that the Constitution is a "living document" and should be interpreted in relation to the mores of modern times.

I say Bullox. If times and mores change, then the Constitution needs to be changed too. It has a process for being ammended. Use it. Leave as little room for intrepretation as possible. If the 10th ammendment isn't being enforced, ammend it. Wants to abolish that right to piecably assmemble? Ammend it. Confused about the wording of the second ammendment? Ammend it!

[ Parent ]

changing the constitution (none / 0) (#410)
by izx on Thu Jan 22, 2004 at 05:22:55 PM EST

Why do americans have such an attachment to their constitution as originally written? Isn't there any room for change, or was it really all nailed down for eternity back in the 18th century?

it shouldn't be changed by just changing the interpretation. if you want to change it, sure, pass an amendment, but don't give me that "living document" bullshit. it means exactly what it says, and it is written in pretty straightforward language.

as for why americans have such an attachment to the constitution as originally written, well, we think it works pretty well ;)

p.s. historical point: several of the original states demanded the bill-of-rights amendments in order to ratify the constituion, so they are more parts of the original than amendments.

[ Parent ]

A question on sanity.... (none / 3) (#228)
by Saad on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:39:06 AM EST

Reading some other comments,I must agree that it now looks more complicated that it used to (for me). I wasn't to aware of that subject, so tnx for enlightenment.

I must also say that saying "I'm different then the bad guyz, I hate it when they regulate me just because some weirdo is doing crazy stuff with guns." doesn't sound good to me. It sounds selfish, pharisaical, "I'm better then others".It's not like that. Many people can drive faster then a speed limit, and they are good enough drivers to manage this. But the regulation applies to all.

Many say that they are different then all those wacos, and that gun control is a hassle for them. But imagine you get sick with schizophrenia, and you don't know that. How on earth will anybody be allowed to take gun away from you, before it's to late? Personally If I knew that I was getting sick, I wouldn't like to have a gun at my home, with my family. But we never know how sane we are. Watch "Beautiful mind". Are you different?

I know this is not an argument of reason, It is not supposed to be, but think about it. Can we really trust our selves, our sanity, are we strong enough, to say that we are "different". Society is us. And many people just don't have a clue about how fragile we are. It really makes sens to me, a person who doesn't know anybody among his friends who owns a gun and keeps it at home. And we are still alive, surprised?

Look at statistics of fire arms murders. Yes,yes it has nothing to do with the amount of guns in households, the numbers don't lie.


"POST COITUM OMNE ANIMAL TRISTE EST."
Typical liberal (none / 1) (#233)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:24:48 AM EST

You're saying that people aren't smart enough to make responsible decisions, so they need to be protected from themselves. Except you of course, you seem to know what's best for everyone else.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Is it bad... (none / 1) (#239)
by Saad on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:55:51 AM EST

...to be liberal?

People must have reasons to become them...


"POST COITUM OMNE ANIMAL TRISTE EST."
[ Parent ]
Well, yes (none / 1) (#250)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:02:17 PM EST

People have reasons to become serial rapists too. That doesn't mean it's a good thing to be a serial rapist (or a liberal).

Nice try, but don't change the subject. I didn't say it was bad to be a liberal, I said that your viewpoint is typical for a liberal.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

so who is going to protect me.... (none / 2) (#251)
by unstable on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:04:18 PM EST

when a lunatic comes at me or my loved ones with a weapon.

the police?  by the time I call 911 and they dispatch the police I will be dead.  i dont like that idea

maybe I should do like people like the Brady campain wants us to do with "non violent compliance"....  so since his motives are to kill me he does so...  hmmm  that one sucks too.

or I can use my .45 to either deter him from harming me (if he is in the right frame of mind to do so.) or to incapacitate him. (dead or otherwise)

I dont want to hurt anyone.  I have never pointed my pistol at anyone, but if it comes down to me or him you know what choice I will make.

this also holds true if you were outside my home and are attacked..  I will come to your aid if I can...

or would you rather me hide in my home and call 911 for you so you can wait for the cops.

I dont own my guns for self defense... I use them for target shooting. but since I have the tools I will use them if the time comes.

you post a link to statistics on firearms murders in diffrent contries... but what about crimes that were prevented due to firemarms.

here is a list of some of them

some interesting quotes from the page.

"*38% of the victims defending themselves with a firearm attacked the offender, and the others threatened the offender with the weapon.

*A fifth of the victims defending themselves with a firearm suffered an injury, compared to almost half of those who defended themselves with weapons other than a firearm or who had no weapon.

here is the DOJ report



Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

[ Parent ]

You know (2.75 / 4) (#252)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:27:07 PM EST

I could live with some reasonable and fair gun control measures. The problem is that I've seen far too many examples of beaurocrats using such openings to impose arbitrary and unfair restrictions to strip whole swaths of individuals of thier freedoms for no good purpose other then it suits the bearucrats own personal agenda. I've already seen first hand examples of this at work with gun control regulation that has adversely affected me (see my post elsewhere). I've seen examples of such regulation being misused in an attempt to disallow guns to everyone... even people who represent no threat... just because said bearucrat found guns personaly distastefull.

Taken to it's logical conclusion your position would argue not that there should be a speed limit which everyone must obey but that private citizens not be allowed to own cars.... afterall cars are at least as dangerous as guns (more people are injurred/killed every year in the U.S. from automobiles then guns).... and people don't always realize when they are driving unsafely... and a person who "get sick with schizophrenia" is certainly a danger to himself and others when they get behind the wheel.

By the same tokken we should BAN all ALCOHOL. ALCOHOL is responsible for many injurries, deaths and violence each year. Look at the correlation between ALCOHOL (and other substance abuse) and domestic violence. Look at the frequency of ALCOHOL presence at fatal automobile accidents. Look at the commonality of ALCOHOL consumption with acts of spontaneous violence. Look at all the clinical studies which have shown ALCOHOL adversely effects impulse control, judgement and mood... and makes violent behavior far more likely. Certainly BOOZE is no more of a neccesty then guns are. Aren't people who say just because some "weirdo's" can't control themselves and drink responsibily doesn't mean I should be prohibited from drinking... aren't those people just being "selfish" and "pharisaical"?

The logical extension of your arguement is collective guilt. We should coat the entire world in safety foam and remove ALL freedoms from EVERYONE because noone can be trusted to be responsible for thier own actions. No one can be trusted not to harm others. That vision of the world sounds very much like an Orwellian Hell to me. I certainly wouldn't want to live in a world like that, would you?

Wouldn't it be better to allow people as much freedom as possible and only remove such freedom from individuals who have demonstrated that they will abuse them? Isn't individual responsibility better then collective guilt?

Again I wouldn't object to certain reasonable gun controls and most states already have some gun controls (both reasonable and unreasonable). I wouldn't object to requiring a permit to purchase a gun (most states already do for handguns and many do for longarms as well). I wouldn't object to criminal and psychiatric background checks (most states already require them for handguns and some for longarms as well). I wouldn't object to firearm competency testing and required safety courses (many states already do this for handguns). I wouldn't object to laws requiring safe storage of firearms within the home (some states already do this). The current assualt weapons ban is nothing but a PR stunt but I wouldn't object to certain weapons, ammo and magizine types being restricted because they were too dangerous (many such restrictions already exist).

What I would object to is being denied a permit to own a gun because I can't remember my Great-Great-Great Grandmothers maiden name and place of birth. I don't see how that correlates to some-one being any more of a threat... yet I've seen arbitrary restrictions just like that already in force. I DO object to having some knee-jerk bearucrat remove freedoms from a whole swath of people because 1 sick bastard did something which made headlines and the bearucrats afraid of looking bad if he doesn't "do something", I've seen that happen more times then I can count. I DO object to being told I can't own a gun...not because I'm not responsible enough but because SOMEONE ELSE is not responsible enough. I reject collective guilt.


[ Parent ]

The flaw in your argument right here (none / 1) (#285)
by pyramid termite on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:37:45 PM EST

It sounds selfish, pharisaical, "I'm better then others".

Free clue - some people are better than others. They're better at sanity and self-control, they're better at math, they're better at golf, music, baseball, whatever. And yes, some people are better, by evidence of their willingness to live honest, non-predatory lives, at being able to be trusted with guns than others.

Can we really trust our selves, our sanity, are we strong enough, to say that we are "different"

Different than murderers? Robbers? The very rare psycho killer? Well, the evidence of my memory and my senses tells me that I am different because I haven't done any of those things. And until I'm convicted in a court of law of doing those things, society should recognize that difference.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
what's Lawrence and Garner? (none / 0) (#229)
by nlscb on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 10:41:47 AM EST

could you provide a link?

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

Your interpretation doesn't matter (2.55 / 9) (#232)
by AxelBoldt on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:04:48 AM EST

It doesn't matter how you interpret the constitution, or how the framers intended it. The constitution itself says that the final interpretation of it is to be provided by the Supreme Court. As you write correctly, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled or implied that the Second Amendment does not yield a private citizen's right to own and bear guns. That right there is the end of the story.

The Supreme Court (none / 1) (#243)
by Skywise on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:07:47 PM EST

has also ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance (including the words Under God) is a perfectly legal thing for the US congress to pass and require students to say.

End of story.

[ Parent ]

supremes (none / 0) (#254)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:40:34 PM EST

the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled or implied that the Second Amendment does not yield a private citizen's right to own and bear guns.

When?

The Supreme Court has heard only five cases directly related to the Second Amendment. They are: U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), Presser v. Illinois (1886), Miller v. Texas (1894), U.S. v. Miller (1939), and Lewis v. U.S. (1980).
From http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndsup.html

5 cases, none of which ruled it is a collective right.

[ Parent ]

A correction on the court's constitutional role (none / 0) (#379)
by scheme on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 09:54:10 PM EST

It doesn't matter how you interpret the constitution, or how the framers intended it. The constitution itself says that the final interpretation of it is to be provided by the Supreme Court.

Actually, the constitution doesn't give the supreme court the ability to overturn or give a final interpretation of the of constitutional issues. The Supreme Court asserted those rights in Marbury v. Madison in 1803.

A mildly amusing side point to this is trying to figure out how strict constructionist interpretations of the constitution jibe with the current role of the supreme court.


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein


[ Parent ]
Gun Control = Placebo (2.44 / 9) (#237)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:51:53 AM EST

I am reposting some of the comments I made earlier under an editorial thread (not visible now) because I think they proved fruitfull to the discussion of gun control:

---------------------------------------------

If you look at a comparison of per capita murder rate* you will see that the U.S. ranks 23rd on the list of countries that report such statistics..... behind such countries as Poland (20), Seychelles (18), Zambia(16), Thailand(14), New Guinea(12), Lithuania(7), Mexico(6), Russia(5), Jamaica(3) and Colombia(1).
Canada is at 44th, below Iceland(40), France(41) and the Czech Republic(42) and only slightly ahead of the U.K. (46) and Germany (49).

The problem is that many of the nations ahead of the U.S. on the list have more restrictive gun control laws and less guns per capita then the U.S. whereas as some of the nations below such as Finland(29)have less restrictive laws and (according to some statistics)  more guns per capita.

In fact, there are studies which show that there is a stronger statistical correlation between car ownership and firearm homicide then between firearm ownership and firearm homicide+

This holds true with statistical evidence from within the U.S. which shows that States with less restrictive firearm laws do NOT have greater homicide rates then states and municipalties with more restrictive laws**. In fact, in general the reverse is true.

Note, I am NOT trying to argue Firearm ownership reduces the prevalance of violent crime (although I believe there is some small degree of truth in that) just that at worst access to legal Firearms and permisiveness of firearm related laws is a NEGLIGABLE factor in the rate of violent crime and threat to public safety. Far less important then other factors such as poverty or alcohol and other intoxicants which loosen inhibitions against violence and effect judgement. Yet I haven't heard any gun control advocates argue in favor of the prohibition of alcohol.... and many, in fact, are the very same people who favor legalizing hard drugs which (along with alcohol) are far more prevalent in violent incidents then even firearms are.

The fact of the matter is that Gun Control is a placebo. It doesn't stop violence, as tens of thousands of years of history predating the use of gunpowder will attest. It is simply an "easy solution" that advocates can fixate on... because it;
1) Does not effect THEM adversely (as far as they know), 2) Allows them to place the blame on an inanimate object rather then face upto the more frightening realization people actualy choose (and are responsible) to commit these heinous acts, 3) Allows them to demonize legal gun owners and gun manufacturers (i.e. BIG BUSSINESS)... people who they really didn't like or emphatize with to start. 4) Avoids dealing with more difficult to solve (and more relavent) factors contributing to violent crime such as poverty, lack of education, broken homes and failing cultural values and conflicting cultures....things that WOULD actualy be painfull for them to admit and address.

* www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_mur_cap

+ www.dvc.org.uk/~johnny/dunblane/misled.html

** www.helpnetwork.org/frames/fact.state5.html

Continued (none / 1) (#241)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:57:21 AM EST

My response to a salient reply by Kragg (unfortunately now hidden due to being part of an editorial queue):

---------------------------------------------
"the correlation between gun ownership and gun crime is surely stronger than between alcohol prohibition and gun crime." ... Do you have any evidence to back that up? I've already provided a link to show that car ownership has a larger statistical correlation then gun ownership with gun homicide.

"to suggest that people who don't like a high murder rate sohuld instead focus on alcohol is specious " ...... Actualy I don't think it's specious at all. Alcohol and drug abuse have a VERY high incidence with cases of violent crime in the U.S. (particularly domestic violence). Such substances are clinicly proven to effect impulse control, judgement and mood (i.e. things that otherwise would cause a person to refrain from violent or irrational behavior).  I haven't provided any links but do the research yourself and you'll see that I am correct. Yet, I haven't heard a single Gun Prohibition advocate also advocate Alcohol Prohibition....and most seem to favor legalizing other such drugs.

Note, I am NOT saying that addressing substance abuse will solve the problem alone... but it IS a a more significant factor then guns.

"it would seem more likely to me that the countries you listed with high (gun-related?) murder rates and strict gun control are poor or very politically unstable, and hence lack the ability to enforce their control laws?" .... The site I provided listed overall murder rates. I thought that was more relavent then just gun-related murder rates.... afterall it is of little comfort to the victem to be murdered with a knife rather then a gun... dead is dead. Additionaly one of the arguements of pro-gun advocates (myself included) is that if guns are restricted, criminals will just substitute other weapons to do thier violence with. Wouldn't you agree that the overall murder rate is more important then firearm specific homicides?

Yes, I do believe that there is a fairly high correlation between political instability, poverty and homicide....however I don't think that lack of ability to enforce control laws specificly (as opposed to law in general) is a causal factor. In fact, even if we ignore the restrictiveness of control laws and just look at the prevalence of firearms (legal or illegal) within the society we still wont see much correlation with homicide rates. Tell me does Jamaica really have over 6 times the number of firearms per capita then the U.S. and 15 times that of Canada?...because it's murder rate happens to be that much higher. Is Mexico significantly less stable then Yemen or Azerbaijan?

The statistics on this site* are more dated (1994 or so) BUT are also very interesting to look at because they list Total Homicide, Total Firearm Homicide and Firearm Ownership figures.

The Netherlands only had firearm ownership of 1.9% but it had a homicide rate (1.11) in excess of Spain (.95) even though firearms were more then 6 times (13.1%) as prevalent in Spain.

Looking at the same data we can see that England which has lower fire-arms ownership (4.7%) does as we would expect have a lower FireArms Homicide rate (.11) then Spain (.21) but it's overall Homicide rate was higher (1.41). The situation with South Korea is even more pronounced, it's FireArm Homicide rate is only .04 yet it's overall homicide rate is even higher then Englands at 1.61 . This certainly lends some credence to the theory that if FireArms are lacking other tools of violence will be substituted. Note, I've used Spain in the above examples but it is by no means exceptional....I could have easly used Sweden, Norway or Australia (circa '94) to make the same example.

There are even more damning statistics to the pro-gun control position if one looks at a year by year comparison + of U.S. homicide statistics.
If you look at those figures you can see that during 1950 homicide figures were 4.6  They remained quite steady throughout the 50's. In fact they were very steady until 1966 or so when they began a dramatic rise, reaching a peak of 10.2 in 1980, dropping a bit in the early 80's and then rising back up to a peak in 1993 again  and then dropping back down rather sharply in the mid to late 90's until they reached a level approaching the 50's in the year 2000 (5.5).

One can hazard a guess at what might correlate with the rise and fall of these figures but it certainly wasn't gun ownership or the restrictiveness of gun laws in the U.S.

Gun ownership certainly wasn't LESS PREVALANT in the 1950's then it was in 1980 and Gun Laws certainly weren't MORE RESTRICTIVE, in fact, if anything the reverse is true. Nor do I believe there have been any dramatic changes in either of those 2 areas in the last 10 years or so to account for the recent drop. So how do you account for the variances?

I could venture some conjecture about dramatic changes that occured in U.S. society beginning in the mid 60's and corresponding with the variance in homicide rates but I don't think it would be very well recieved here.

However, as some-one else has said in this very topic.... NUMBERS DON'T LIE. All the numbers I've seen so far both national and international seem to indicate there is very little correlation between prevalence of guns in society, restictiveness of gun controls and violent crime rates. At the very worst there is a WEAK CORRELATION as has been suggested in some studies. All the evidence seems to suggest that there are FAR MORE IMPORTANT factors at play then either the occurance of gun ownership or the restictiveness of gun laws. Yet advocates of gun control seem willing to forge steadfastly ahead to restrict everyones freedoms for what seems obvious will be marginal gain..... and steadfastly refuse to even examine what might be more important contributing factors. It might sound glib, but yes they WOULD SAVE ALOT MORE LIVES BY BANNING BOOZE THEN GUNS.

* www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvintl.html

+ www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/tables/totalstab.htm

[ Parent ]

Continued (none / 1) (#244)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:08:13 PM EST

A further continuation of my discussion with Kragg. Note that the fruitfull nature of this discussion along with the very civil tenor in which it was conducted gives me renewed hope that liberals and conservatives can still have productive and intellegent debate on a sensetive subject even when they disagree on substantive issues.... a welcome respite from the vitrol and hystrionics that seem to have become so pervasive in such debates lately.

------------------------------------------------

"I'm afraid I'm slipping back to my original view (or a slight modification of it) - if there're other problems (as there clearly are in the US's case, and in e.g. N. Ireland's), then gun control helps. If there aren't (like for norway and finland), then the statistical difference it makes is lost in the noise."

Even if it's true that when there are other problems gun control helps (and I'm not convinced that it does) wouldn't you say that it makes more sense to address those "other problems" since even with gun control a nation that has "other problems" will still have a higher incidence then the low risk nations?

 

[ Parent ]

Continued (none / 2) (#246)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:16:54 PM EST

More from the discussion between myself and Kragg on the utility of gun control. I get a little emotional here because I'm discussing how gun control would (and has) affected me personaly in an adverse manner. Note though the tenor of the post is somewhat emotional...it is NOT directed adversely at Kragg in any manner whatsoever.

-----------------------------------------------

You are removing freedoms from people that they value.
Not being able to own a gun might not be a big deal for YOU but speaking personaly it will be for me. I've owned guns my entire life (and no ones ever been harmed with one of my guns).

I like being able to go down to the range and go skeet shooting.

I like being able to go hunting.

I like the idea that if some-one breaks into my home and assualts myself or my family I can resort to picking up my shotgun if they don't leave after I tell them I've just called the police. That's important because even though I live only a short distance from the police station average police response time in life threatening situations is 15 minutes (enough time for my family to be massacered 3 times over)..... and I've taken enough martial arts to know that if I get in a physical confrentation with a 6'4", 280 lbs thug I am helpless without a gun.

I'd like to go hiking in grizzley or polar bear country one day....and I'd like something to dissuade the bears from regarding me as a prey item. Unarmed human beings make pretty easy prey compared to deer.

I'd hate to loose all those freedoms just because SOMEONE ELSE decides to use a gun to harm other people.

As it is with the BS laws in my state I can't get a handgun permit. I've never been in trouble with the law, I've no history of mental instability. Want to know why I can't get a permit? ... I can't get 5 people that LIVE IN MY COUNTY and HAVE KNOWN ME FOR OVER 5 YEARS to sign my permit application. I don't KNOW anyone in my county that I've known for over 5 years. I've lived in my county for less then 3 years, I don't work in my county and I don't socialize in my county.
I could get a ton of people in other counties (including law enforcement officers) to sign my permit... but they don't count because they don't live in my County. I've never done anything wrong. I've owned long arms my entire life. I've had firearm safety training. I could pass a competency test in a heartbeat. I've got proper ID. Yet I am at the mercy of having to find 5 private citizens who live within an arbitrarly established set of lines to sign a piece of paper saying I am allowed to own a handgun.

Now you're here trying to tell me that the gun control laws I live under aren't restrictive enough. I'm sorry but you are going to have to provide some damn solid evidence that's going to do a whole lot of good for a lot of innocent people if you want me to back that.

[ Parent ]

gun ownership as a privilege (none / 0) (#358)
by Kragg on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 02:19:21 AM EST

I've given this a fair bit of thought over the past couple of days. Apologies in advance, it's a long post, but there's a lot I want to say and i'd value your opinion.

What we agree on so far, and what the statistics also show, is that something is wrong in America. Violence and violent crime, and in particular gun crime, are too common.

Gun control in and of itself is not the answer. If the underlying causes for the high levels of violence are not addressed, then increased gun control serves little purpose. Equally, other evidence has shown that if the underlying problems can be addressed, then there isn't a need for a blanket gun control policy as i originally thought.

So what are these underlying problems? There's undoubtedly several of them. Good candidates are racial mixtures and perceived inequalities, fear over terrorism and the current cold-war like atmosphere, and the 'fear-inspiring' media.

The first two I'm going to leave alone. I don't think there's any benefit to speculating about solutions to racial issues, which are a large topic that people can argue about all day long. The same goes for America's foreign policy and terrorism.

But I would like to look at the idea that the media propagates fear and hence raises tensions. This in my opinion is a 2 sided coin - to a greater or lesser extent, people watch what they want to watch. People are glued to the set or to the newspapers whenever there's a murder or a real life high drama cop show, or any of the other types of program that are accused of feeding this fear.

Why is that? This is where what I think might get offensive... In my opinion, the fundamental problem is one of attitude. Due to the US's history, the gain of independence through armed conflict, gun ownership is viewed as a fundamentally important right. An American has to be able to stand up for himself, and that means he has the absolute, god-given right to carry a gun in order to do so. It's this line of thinking that leads to the "cold dead hands" mentality. That in turn leads to the desire to perceive the danger that justifies that need for guns. (I wish I could put that better.) That's the crux of my argument; it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. A vicious circle. I have a need and a right to carry a gun. So the media shows me the danger I want to see. So I think I have a need and a right to carry a gun, etc.

If that attitude could be changed, if you could break that circle, then, paradoxically, a lot of the problems will go away. But it's a very difficult circle to break out of.

The way to break out of it, I think, is to really press the idea that gun ownership is a prilivege, not a right. Owning a weapon with which you can so easily kill somebody is an extremely big responsibility, and should be treated as such.

In order to do that, you instigate a system that allows guns to everyone (bar the mentally ill, unfortunately...). The system doesn't arbitrarily discriminate (I think that's extremely important) - but it does demonstrably punish irresponsibility.

You do this, firstly, by removing all of the arbitrary barriers to gun ownership, like the stupid 5 citizens bullshit. That is blatantly unfair, and all it does is disempower people, and further that vicious circle.

Secondly, you put in place as many responsibility checks as you can. Most gun owners are responsible anyway, so this shouldn't be a hardship - groups like the NRA can't really argue with the view of gun ownership as a responsibility, it should be one of their guiding principles already. The main thing I'm thinking of is losing your privilege to carry a gun if you abuse the responsibilty, by (for example) losing your gun, or being negligent in ownership (such as by leaving it where a child might get it), or being negligent or criminal in the use of the gun. These kinds of things should bar you from owning a gun (for some period of time), as a penalty for your lack of responsibility.

And fundamentally, removing or amending the current second amendment that states 'you have the right', in favour of something that is worded in such a way as to make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that it's a privilege, not a right, and that if you aren't responsible then you forfeit that privilege.

The result, I think, would be to go some way to changing the John Wayne mentality that is at least partially the cause of the media's portrayal of danger and the apparent virtues of gun ownership. That's the key to my line of thinking - that by fostering a more sensible and responsible attitude to gun control, an attitude of privilege rather than need, that that in turn does actually address one of the fundamental underlying reasons for the high violence rates in the US.

The funny thing is, in reality I don't think that this would change the real life workings of gun laws a great deal, it's much more an attitude shift than a legislation shift.

Unfortunately, I don't think it will ever, ever happen. The current attitude is so much a part of the American mind-set that it's as inconceivable to touch the second amendment as it is to touch the first. And that to me seems like a real honest to god tragedy.

The big problem with this is that removing/amending the second amendment opens the floodgates to all kinds of restrictive legislation, so a carefully worded replacement would be necessary. But also, removing the amendment doesn't automatically mean that politicians can make the gun laws stricter, they're still accountable to the people. Even without the amendment, sensible and reasonably relaxed gun laws ought to be the standard, because that's what people want. I put more faith in democracy without the constitution than I guess some people do, which is why I suggest an alternative constitutional amendment rather than just dropping it altogether.

So, that's it. It's a slightly different argument in favour of sensible gun control to the standard one, and hopefully one that has more merit. It's not arbitrary, which is a large part of the problem with current gun control laws, but it is fair, and I hope would foster the responsibility which in turn would improve the culture of gun ownership and so actually would address the underlying problems.

Anyway, again, sorry for the long post. I know I'm seriously short on evidence to back up my viewpoint, but I really don't know what I can do about that. Perhaps looking at the attitudes to gun ownership in other places where there are less problems would be a way to judge whether changing the prevalent attitude would help the situation. I don't know.

Regardless, I hope there's some things worth thinking about in there.
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

Venturing Some Thoughts (none / 0) (#367)
by CENGEL3 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 02:40:22 PM EST

I do understand your arguement but I'm not sure I buy into the self-fullfilling prophecy portion of it. I don't believe that the attitude of Americas gunowners about gun ownership was dramaticaly different in 1950 then it was in 1980 or then it is today. Yet, the numbers show that gun homicide rates were dramaticaly different (from about 1966 onwards). Nor do I think the average Canadian's attitude about guns is all that divergant either but thier homicide rate is considerably less.

In any event, if we look at the individuals who actualy commit gun homicides... by and large these are NOT legal gun owners. Mostly they are very young males who did NOT aquire thier guns legaly and in most cases do NOT posses a legal right to own guns due to previous convictions for violent crime.

What would be interesting to look at was whether America's overall crime statistics (not just fire-arms related) were higher then many countries. I would not be surprised to learn that they were.

Working purely on conjecture here, I believe the reasons for Americas problems with violence are due to a rather complex mixture of factors. I know I'm going to catch some flak here but I think one of the larger factors, even though it sounds corny, is loss of respect for authority. The jump in firearms homicides in the mid 60's seems to correlate almost exactly with the advent of the counter-culture revolution. The counter-culture revolution had some very positive factors (i.e. questioning authority) but it also had some very pricey baggage that came along with them (i.e. avoidance of personal responsibilty).

Unfortunately in the U.S. today this seems to have morphed into the "gangsta culture" which not only promotes lack of respect for authority but also promotes lack of respect for ones fellow human beings and glorifies violent criminal behavior.

I mean could you imagine a game like "Grand Theft Auto" selling in 1950's America. Yet today it is a best seller. Even soccer moms blithely stand by while little Johnny learns how fun it is to mow down innocent pedestrians. Is it any wonder that when little Johnny gets a little older there is a chance he might think about emmulating violent behavior himself?

Note, I am NOT in favor of censoring violent content or games like Grand Theft Auto...that is too dangerous a step in the other direction. However, as a parent, I am STRONGLY in favor of more parental supervision over what kids watch and play with. Kids usualy enjoy playing games where they can empathize with the character they are playing. I think it's a sad statement on our society when kids want to play games where they get to run over pregnant women and beatup little old ladies..... and think that somehow makes them COOL. At least with games like DOOM the setting was clearly not ment to model reality and the things you were blasting were zombies not innocent pedestrians.

Combine the shift in social values along with an exacerbated economic problem and there are real issues. Frankly the real standard of living for the average american family has gone down dramaticaly. It used to be that a reasonably well educated, intellegent and dedicated person had a reasonable chance of landing a secure income that could support a family, a home and a comfortable lifestyle. Today even if 1 parent wants to stay home to raise the children they can't afford to... and most people just manage to scrape by on 2 salaries. Not to mention the fact that job security and job opportunity are bad enough to discourage many young people.

[ Parent ]

fair answer (none / 0) (#374)
by Kragg on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 04:31:39 PM EST

First the flak: Putting the blame on the games (as opposed to films like The Godfather, or even the gang films and war films of the 50s or earlier) isn't necessarily right... in fact, you could say it's the same kind of scapegoating i've been doing with guns.

But, I don't think you'll get much flak for suggesting that lack of parental supervision has a bad effect on kids growing up.

I guess there are a large number of factors, all of which have a greater or lesser effect on the overall cultural environment, and all of which are extremely hard to objectively measure. You make a good case though, it'd be interesting to see a statistical correlation of the %age of households with 2 working parents or single parent families against crime, and also add in other factors like geopolitical tensions and other things, play around with the numbers and see where you get. It's not simple, though, since all these factors interplay with one another and may even have a more significant bearing on each other than directly on crime.

Thanks for the honest answer. I think I need to go and read some books on this stuff from different points of view before assuming I know what's going on.

(by the way, as regards the Canadian attitude, from another comment in this article, #331, That's the big difference between Americans and Canadians. A gun is a tool. Use it to hunt or guard your stuff or what ever. It's a tool. In the US, this "tool" has become a right like free speech. In Canada, we have never had illusions that a gun was anything more than a tool. We never have had a right to bear arms, because we never saw the need for it.
I'm not saying that's definitive, but it's interesting to hear a canadian view it in a similar light)
--
"How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like." -- Goethe, Willhelm Meister's Travels.
[ Parent ]

Some Thoughts... (none / 2) (#306)
by curunir on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:06:59 PM EST

First let me say that I'm not in favor of gun control. I used to be, but then realized that limiting guns is no different than limiting drugs or limiting religion or any other state-imposed choice. So what follows below is more of a devil's advocate position to some of your thoughts.

The fact of the matter is that Gun Control is a placebo. It doesn't stop violence, as tens of thousands of years of history predating the use of gunpowder will attest.

Guns are different from other weapons. IIRC, it was Samuel Colt who coined the phrase, "The Great Equalizer." Guns drastically change the skills necessary to kill someone. Whereas you need strength and agility to kill someone with a sword, you need only a practice with a gun. It used to be possible to size up a potential threat...if he was smaller or slower, you stood a good chance of either being able to run or survive a fight. But the advent of guns changes that. There is a feeling of loss of control that goes along with not knowing who can and who cannot end your life. It's that lack of control that you need to realize to understand why some people have such strong reactions to gun violence and why they blame guns.

...hard drugs which (along with alcohol) are far more prevalent in violent...

Ok, even if you've got numbers to back this up (which somehow I doubt), they mean nothing due to the fact that drugs are illegal. The fact that drugs exist in a black market ensures that profits are astronomical and people who profit from them will easily resort to violence to protect those profits. You're constantly hearing about people at raves and concerts being stabbed/shot. What you don't hear is that the people being stabbed/shot are either drug dealers who are being robbed or the would be robbers of a well-armed dealer.

I think you're right to epxress frustration at how much of the blame guns get for America's gun violence. People who've actually watched "Bowling for Columbine" with an open mind found that Moore didn't only blame the NRA for the problem. In fact, his more harsh criticisms had to do with the "culture of fear" instilled by the news media ("If it bleeds, it leads") and America's poverty problem.

The problem is that both sides are not willing to budge an inch. Those that favor gun control will continue to push for legislation that bans some new type of gun until guns are illegal. As I explained above, there is a somewhat irrational fear of guns that those unfamiliar with them have. But at the same time, the NRA opposes any form of gun control.

Now for the "what I would do" section...
First, decriminalize drugs. The war on drugs is the single biggest cause of gun violence in this country. It is also the single biggest cause of poverty in this country. Second, treat guns like cars. That means establishing a state licensing organization (ala the DMV) and testing potential firearm owners on proficiency. That anyone is allowed to own a gun without understanding how to use, care for and respect the power of a gun seems insane to me. The NRA could even set themselves up as a certifying agent for training institutions. With a firearm license, the background checking could be done at that point enabling licensed owners to purchase guns without a waiting period. These steps wouldn't end gun violence (nothing can), but I'm sure they'd help.

[ Parent ]
Some links (none / 1) (#329)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 12:15:38 PM EST

Below are just a few links describing the relationship between substance abuse and violence. The correlation between substance abuse and violence is well documented.

http://www.drugfreeschools.com/violence.html

http://www.jointogether.org/gv/news/summaries/reader/0,2061,562036,00.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1452395&dopt=Abstract

http://www.siu.edu/departments/coreinst/public_html/recent.html

http://www.dea.gov/demand/speakout/07so.htm

http://www.estreet.com/orgs/dsi/Press/DrugUseTiedtoDomesticViolence.A

http://www.health.org/govpubs/ml001/

---------------------------------------------
Finally from the Center for Disease Control
(http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/default.htm#A)

Annual Alcohol-induced deaths in the U.S. = 19,817

That figure Excludes Deaths from Motor Vehicle Accidents 43,788 (50% of which involve the use of alcohol by at least 1 of the operators).

It also excludes Deaths from Chronic Liver Disease
27,035 (Of which Alcohol Abuse is the leading cause)

By Comparison

Annual Death By Homicide = 16,765 (This includes ALL homicides not just FireArm related)

Yet not a single Gun Control advocate has come forward asking for a ban on alcohol, even though it kills FAR more Americans each year then guns.

Note I am NOT in favor of either alcohol or drug prohibition. However if we are addressing risks to life and limb (which Gun Control Advocates use a justification for thier agenda) , the numbers demonstrate that alcohol is far more dangerous then firearms.
-----------------------------------------------

On your other point "Guns are different from other weapons......" you are absolutely correct.
However, I would like to make the point that small, slow and weak individuals did not make a career out of being predators.

If you were the victem of a violent crime your opponent most likely resembled an NFL linesman...and your chances of surviving that encounter were exactly squat unless you were fortunate to posses similar qualities or some other "equalizing" factor.

This is something that gun control advocates fail to appreciate. The absence of guns does not return any greater control to them... in fact it reduces it. A gun allows them the chance to defend themselves effectively against an NFL linesmen... something they could never achieve without one.


[ Parent ]

good links (none / 0) (#343)
by curunir on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 04:27:13 PM EST

Ok, so you've got links to back that up. That's great. My point was really that arguing that drugs result in higher incidences of violence a specious line of reasoning. You cannot seperate drugs from the black market created by their prohibition. And, as such, you cannot determine whether it is the drugs themselves which create the violence, or the black market. Therefore, it's a bit disingenuous to use that argument.

As to the point about the absence of guns offering greater safety, I think we agree more than we disagree. You might notice in my previous comment that I called the fear felt by gun control advocates 'irrational'. My point was that, even though it is irrational, it is possible to understand why they feel that fear. It seems to me that gun advocates might accomplish more by approaching the debate with and understanding of why gun control advocates feel the way they do. You can toss out statistics until you're blue in the face, but you won't convince them one bit until you find someway to assuage that fear they feel.

[ Parent ]
You make a very good point (none / 0) (#344)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 04:50:42 PM EST

The problem is how do you convince some-one that has an "irrational" fear... that indeed thier fear is irrational?

Outside of exposure to the object of said fear (and most gun control advocates I know refuse to go near a gun even in a controled environment), I'm not sure how to get around it.

I also encounter a second type of control advocate on a somewhat regular basis. They find guns "distastefull and barbaric" and dislike "gun people" and that's thier basis for wanting to get rid of guns.... those are the ones that really get me steamed.

[ Parent ]

The problem is the WANT and NEED, not the RIGHT (2.50 / 12) (#238)
by gidds on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:55:50 AM EST

I'm not an American (of any flavour), and I don't pretend to have an intimate knowledge of US culture... But from what I see, it's not owning guns that's so much the problem. It's a culture where guns are used so often, and where people feel the need to own guns for their own protection.

One (not the only) reason for this opinion is the much-debated Bowling For Columbine; Michael Moore clearly started making it as an argument against gun ownership, but changed his mind when he saw that some other countries also have large gun ownership rates but don't suffer the same problems with gun-related crime that the US does.

But I think it goes deeper than that. What does it say about the US culture and people that so many of them are so vociferously in favour of the means to kill each other? Why is that seen as a fundamental human right?

IMO, the US has some growing up to do. It's not the Wild West any more; it must move on from the frontier mentality.

[fx: retreats to bunker]

Andy/

Yes, and what about Iraq? (none / 3) (#245)
by Saad on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:08:38 PM EST

Many people will not be interested in info on how it looks from outside.

It's funny that in Iraq US forces are buying weapons from people. Obviously they are not human enough to have a right to have a gun.

Their conviction that the new "government" is there to hurt them is not obviously valid. But the same conviction of some wild freemen in Montana, who go hunting for bears with M16, is normal, maybe exaggerated. Because it's their God given right.

It's funny. I think as non Americans we will never get it. It's just a different universe.


"POST COITUM OMNE ANIMAL TRISTE EST."
[ Parent ]
Why is "need" required for ownership? (none / 1) (#264)
by enkidu on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:11:26 PM EST

Do you need alchohol? Do you need a set of golf clubs? Do you need a sports car? Since when have we restricted ownership of items to a "need" basis in countries which value liberty and freedom?

For further arguments/counter-arguments/counter-counter-arguments go to this thread where I have already covered this ground http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/3/26/164243/678/525#525

[ Parent ]

Some agreement, some not (none / 2) (#337)
by epepke on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:16:02 PM EST

I'm not an American (of any flavour), and I don't pretend to have an intimate knowledge of US culture... But from what I see, it's not owning guns that's so much the problem. It's a culture where guns are used so often, and where people feel the need to own guns for their own protection.

I think this is an extremely perceptive point.

IMO, the US has some growing up to do. It's not the Wild West any more; it must move on from the frontier mentality.

First of all, even the Wild West was not the Wild West. The infamous Dodge City averaged only two murders per year.

As for the need to do some growing up, I can't help but agree. I do need to point out that the US aren't the only ones.

England is the only country in Europe that is older than the US, not in terms of culture, but in terms of a country qua country. England has a Constitution about a millennium old, albeit a largely non-written one, where rights are largely a matter of gentleman's agreement. Every other country has been redrawn, remade, or subjected to a major overhaul in the 20TH Century, some several times. Even Switzerland is not the same Switzerland that escaped feudalism a few hundred years ago.

America's last major war-as-cultural-festival ended almost 150 years ago. Europe's ended just shy of 60 years ago. And if you look at European history, it's only about a decade overdue. The last time the US had a major genocide was more than 100 years ago, for Europe, it's again just shy of 60.

But it's Nu-Perfect Europe, with the paint barely dry in many places, and everything's all been worked out, once and for all. There's the EU, and the shiny new coins, and all of that. No, it can't happen here! No, never again! Europe gets it right and looks down on the US with [i]pince nez[/i] glasses.

And then you get Bosnia and the emaciated bodies behind the razor wire. And a US President who buys the Nu-Perfect Europe schtick for a while, expecting Europe to do something. What happens is Srebrenica. Then he builds a fire under Nato and at least staunches the wounds.

I'd like to see Europe absorbing more people and developing more distributed populations and still resisting the temptation to put them into ovens for 50 years before deciding who the grown-up is.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Nice troll! Bravo! (1.00 / 14) (#242)
by HardwareLust on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:03:04 PM EST

You managed to make something appearing to be an argument, but face it...you're still just a troll.

Now, I will admit, it's (apparently) intelligent, and resonably well-organized (even with a smidgen of pseudo-logic), but still a big ol' hairy snot-slinging fire-breathing troll, none the less.

What's the matter?  Slashdot getting too crowded for you?  

Sheesh!


If you disagree, POST, don't moderate!

Sorry, I'm slow today... (none / 2) (#302)
by grendelkhan on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 08:22:49 PM EST

You'll have to speak slowly and use smaller words, because I can't see where you actually describe why the author is a troll. Let's see what you say concretely...

It looks like an argument, It looks intelligent. It's reasonably well-organized.

Then you imply that the parent poster is a Slashdotter and throw in a gratuitous 'snot-slinger' comment.

Oh, wait, this is one of those stupid object lessons, isn't it. You know, the kind where you're the ass-chewing cockcheese-gargling troll, and I've fallen for your rapier wit, right?

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

Doesn't agree with you == troll? (none / 3) (#318)
by badturtle on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 01:33:49 AM EST

Of course he is a troll. You have a different view on the subject, so he must be a troll. The problem here is not that you think your viewpoint is the only correct one, but that you practically defend the article by calling it intelligent and well-organized, but then attack it with no evident reason for the attack. A baseless attack is troll. You, sir, are a true troll.

[ Parent ]
Guns will exist whether we outlaw them or not (2.60 / 5) (#247)
by enthalpyX on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:17:15 PM EST

The only even slightly sensible argument is personal defense, and I strongly believe that enabling the use of weapons for personal defense puts you in a much worse situation than if nobody is allowed to use them. I don't think I'm alone on that one.

Note, I haven't formed a solid opinion on this yet-- but how would you repsond to people who claim that criminals will obtain guns, whether they're illegal or not. Given that criminals will have them regardless, would not allowing law-abiding citizens to defend against the inevitable be the best course of action?

What's the argument against individual empowerment?



Guns don't kill people (none / 1) (#294)
by andersjm on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 06:57:04 PM EST

Note, I haven't formed a solid opinion on this yet-- but how would you repsond to people who claim that criminals will obtain guns, whether they're illegal or not. Given that criminals will have them regardless, would not allowing law-abiding citizens to defend against the inevitable be the best course of action?

What's the argument against individual empowerment?

Loss of life.

In theory, gun control just means that criminals have guns but law-abiding citizens don't. In theory people will just commit murders with knives instead.

In practice though, the US murder rate is several times higher than in otherwise comparable countries.

Guns don't kill people.  People with guns kill people.  If you won't take away the guns, what will you take away?


[ Parent ]

Of course they do. (none / 2) (#305)
by cburke on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 09:00:11 PM EST

Loss of life.

Not a bad argument.  How much loss of life are you willing to tolerate before you give up your rights?  What about your car?

There is some reasonable point at which to say "no".  What I ask is that restrictions of my rights always follow the same standards as those used to restrict speech - ie only the highest.

In practice though, the US murder rate is several times higher than in otherwise comparable countries.

If by "comparable" you mean "having similar numbers of guns per capita", then I agree completely.

There is no denying that America has a crime problem.  But when you do look at other countries, you can't correlate gun ownership and crime rates well enough to explain the U.S.

Guns don't kill people.  People with guns kill people.

Sure they do.  Guns kill people.  People with guns kill people. People who want to kill people kill people.  

If you won't take away the guns, what will you take away?

The underlying causes of crime.

But that's a lot tougher than banning guns, isn't it?

[ Parent ]

Underlying cause of crime (none / 0) (#407)
by andersjm on Thu Jan 22, 2004 at 01:48:22 PM EST

If you won't take away the guns, what will you take away?

The underlying causes of crime.

But that's a lot tougher than banning guns, isn't it?

Best of luck with that project.  I'm sure you'll find a way to remove testosterone from the human genetic makeover, eventually.  Until you do let's have gun control, m'kay?


[ Parent ]

There's another view (none / 1) (#299)
by wcooley on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 08:14:29 PM EST

There's another view of this argument that if only outlaws (and law enforcement) will have guns, the police will not have to ask many questions to know who's the dangerous one or not.  They don't seem to ask too many questions anyway when they see someone with a gun, but now they can know with fewer doubts.  Not that I advocate police shooting people, but fewer guns might actually make the police less nervous and less inclined to shoot when a weapon isn't present.
secure email servers
[ Parent ]
who cares about the constitution? (1.12 / 8) (#248)
by johwsun on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:34:56 PM EST

Constitution is just a piece of paper, written by some old ghosts.

Every generation should have his own constution.

The constitution should be an open doccument, for all the people to be able to add articles on it, and to vote for them 24 hours/day.

I think this discussion, about an old document written centuries ago, a document that cannot change and cannot be voted by today people on all of its articles, it is just another silly discussion.


change (2.25 / 4) (#253)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:27:19 PM EST

I think this discussion, about an old document written centuries ago, a document that cannot change

It's called an "amendment". Look into it.

[ Parent ]

I dont care to look at it...I care to vote it... (1.00 / 4) (#262)
by johwsun on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 02:30:25 PM EST

Can I vote this "amendment".
If I can, then I will look at it.
I dont look into documents that I cannot vote them.
Their are just evil documents. After all, this is the difference between a good and an evil document. The good document, you can vote it, the evil document, you cant!

[ Parent ]
So you revel in ignorance, is that it? (none / 2) (#300)
by LAN gnome on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 08:17:05 PM EST

"I dont look into documents that I cannot vote them."

I don't know what part of the US you live in (I'm guessing a region that doesn't value coherent grammar), but chances are the municipal government there holds more power over you than you could ever imagine. Their power comes from the bills that they sign; bills that you don't get to vote on. If you don't look into documents that you "cannot vote them", you're shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to being aware of what the government is doing.

And heads up: there are a million documents you will never vote on, this doesn't make them evil. The US isn't a democracy; it's a representative democracy, also called a democratic republic. You vote for the people who you think represent who you are and what you want; they take it from there (for the most part). I much prefer a system like this to one of mob rule.

[ Parent ]

No , I know more than you imagine I know.. (none / 2) (#327)
by johwsun on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 11:54:52 AM EST

And heads up: there are a million documents you will never vote on, this doesn't make them evil.

No no no...every document that is not voted by the people, is an evil document.-period

The US isn't a democracy; it's a representative democracy, also called a democratic republic. You vote for the people who you think represent who you are and what you want; they take it from there (for the most part). I much prefer a system like this to one of mob rule.

So you dont like the mod? Then what are you doing here in k5?

[ Parent ]

All non voted documents have a common goal.. (none / 2) (#328)
by johwsun on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 12:14:27 PM EST

"I dont look into documents that I cannot vote them." I don't know what part of the US you live in (I'm guessing a region that doesn't value coherent grammar), but chances are the municipal government there holds more power over you than you could ever imagine. Their power comes from the bills that they sign; bills that you don't get to vote on. If you don't look into documents that you "cannot vote them", you're shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to being aware of what the government is doing. The goal of the non voted documents is to inpose the power of governement to people, and make people slaves of the governement.

So I dont need to look at governement documents. I know what their resume is.

"You people, I want you to be my slave. You people, I want you to be my slave. You people, I want you to be my slave. You people, I want you to be my slave."

After reading a lot of governement papers, this is what I understand for them. You seem to be a little bit naive, if you keep reading the same and the same things, but still you cant undestand what they are saying.

You remind me the goldfish, its memory lasts only one second. When it looks at a plant, it says. "What a beautifull plant, I have never seen it" A second pass, then the goldfish look again at the same plant and says "What a beautifull plant, I have never seen it".

This is how you read the documents of your governement, the non_voted_by_the_people ones.

[ Parent ]

I've heard of this system (none / 2) (#338)
by randyk on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:18:33 PM EST

it's called "mob rule".



[ Parent ]
but you like mob rule, dont you? (none / 0) (#364)
by johwsun on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 12:15:09 PM EST

What are YOU doing in kuro5hin?

Go away!

[ Parent ]

Who cares what the Founders wanted? (2.20 / 5) (#249)
by splitpeasoup on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 12:42:31 PM EST

OK, I'm being a little deliberately provocative in the subject line. I believe the ideas of the Founders are immensely valuable and should definitely be taken into account in any modern-day decision making. Many democratic decisions are flawed and it serves a purpose to have a concrete constitution, tradition or principles to guide a democracy.

That said, these principles are a guide, not an eternal absolute. The country, its people, the state of technology, the current climate, and people's perceptions are very different from where they were a couple centuries ago. Whether RKBA is good or useful in a total sense needs to be re-evaluated and there needs to be a more pragmatic basis for a decision than 'this is what the Founders said'.

I'm not either pro or anti RKBA. I would like to see more definitive, unbiased studies on whether RKBA is a good thing in a total sense in the modern world. (By total I mean accounting for all their benefits, such as self defense or preventing tyranny, and all their costs, such as facilitating violence and moulding culture.)

Of course, it is almost impossible to find such unbiased studies.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Human nature has not changed (none / 2) (#283)
by rujith on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:30:53 PM EST

While I agree that the Constitution should not be deified, I also think that it's a very carefully crafted set of rules that is still relevant today. In particular, it recognizes that human nature is to gather power and suppress opposition, and tries to control this tendency in the only possible way: by individuals standing up for their rights. Therefore people should have the right to bear arms that will enable them to fight an oppressive government or police. In other words, what weapons would small groups of people need to meaningfully resist a vastly better equipped, probably better trained, but numerically smaller opposing force? Tanks and nuclear weapons? Probably not. Rifles and hand-guns? Definitely. - Rujith.

[ Parent ]
What are rights? (2.50 / 6) (#255)
by cpghost on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:45:48 PM EST

Rights, as codified in the Constitution and other laws, are the results of past struggles. People were not granted rights, because they were "legal", but because they stood up to defend (to demand) them against the will of the ruling bodies. Or, to put in another way: we don't have rights because of our laws, we have them despite the laws.

Now, laws do have the tendency of perpetrating earlier arrangements, and this is good as far as the laws are in favor of the People. Sadly, laws also have the tendency to erode, as time passes by: values that were important in the past, may not bear that much relevance today.

The right to bear arms is a good example of this. It is great, because it provides a good counter-balance against an almighty state/govt. An armed population is one way to keep the government honest (in then sense of not fouling up all too openly with basic rights).

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), the allowed small weaponery is no match to the kind of heavy artillery that Government may use against us, should we disagree with them.

It comes to no surprise, that Courts tend to ignore the Second Amendment. After all, the judicial system is part of the state. It's not the executive branch, but, hey, they are no ordinary citizens either. The right to bear arms carries an amount of chaos, that is not always compatible to the rigid, mechanic mentality of lawyers or law-makers. Therefore, they prefer to curb this right as far as possible.

Let's go back to the basic question: What are rights? It's actually any arrangement that we, the People, are able to obtain from our lawmakers. If we loose interest in some rights, we'll soon discover that those rights will be revoked. If we want them back, we must struggle again. Freedom is a constant struggle. If we're not ready to defend it, we'll loose it.
cpghost at Cordula's Web

rights (none / 2) (#268)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:36:22 PM EST

<i>What are rights? It's actually any arrangement that we, the People, are able to obtain from our lawmakers.</i>
<p>
No rights are granted to us by our mere existance.  The bill of rights doesn't grant us (Americans) rights, it acknowledges them and prevents congress from abridging them.
<p>
Lawmakers grants (and taketh away) priveleges.
<p>
<i>
If we loose interest in some rights, we'll soon discover that those rights will be revoked.
</i>
<p>
Unfortunately, too true.

[ Parent ]
natural rights vs. created rights (none / 0) (#361)
by onemorechip on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 02:46:17 AM EST

There are natural rights, which humans in their "natural state" would posess. The trouble is, natural rights have no boundaries other than the holder's own limitations, and the power of others to keep them in check. So, as an example, in a primitive society you would have a natural right to throw rocks at me. It's not that doing so would be considered morally acceptable; it's just that there's not a whole lot I could do to stop you, other than take shelter or retaliate in kind.

But that isn't quite right for a civilized society. People want security. The trouble is, there is no security in the natural state of humanity, other than what we can create for ourselves. Thus I can block the entrance to my cave with a large stone that can only be moved from within. However, if I want to go out and hunt or gather, I am vulnerable to your rock-throwing.

That's where the created rights come in. We can create a right to security by artificially limiting the rights of people to throw stones: You are now allowed to throw stones only so long as you do not throw them at other people (you can make an exception to that limitation for self-defense). It's not that you lose your natural right to throw stones at me; it's rather that it is now recognized that throwing stones at me is an infringement of my right to a reasonable level of safety. The created right exists by virtue of that recognition.

OK, the new rule is a nice rule, but why should anyone follow it? Well, if we create a government, and empower the government to enforce the rules that guarantee our newly created rights, then maybe we can get out more often and enjoy ourselves without constantly looking over our shoulders for rock-throwers.

It gets more complicated when technology produces new possibilities for human behavior. Is carrying an assault rifle a natural right, as is the right to carry rocks, even though rifles do not exist in nature? In other words, does the creation of a new weapon automatically create a right to carry that weapon? If that right is not created automatically, what kind of social contract would create such a right? Should we have a blanket provision that any newly created weapon entails the creation of a new right?

And more to the point of the second amendment, what government action represents an infringement of the right to bear arms? What exactly is the limit that the second amendment is placing on government power?
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

The Origin of Rights. (none / 3) (#301)
by grendelkhan on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 08:18:21 PM EST

I thought that, legally, rights were inherent in people. You know, the whole 'endowed by their Creator' bit, which, admittedly, has no legal standing, but it's supposed to set the tone for the country.

As I understand it, we all have rights. Lots of 'em, too many to count. We have government to make sure these rights are preserved---for instance, that evil people don't steal our stuff or kill us---and that's pretty much it. That's their purpose, right there in the Declaration of Independence.

(Though... try asking a hundred graduates of public high schools in this country what the purpose of government is according to the declaration of independence, and I bet you'll get a blank stare.)

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

One can bear very powerful weapons (2.71 / 7) (#256)
by ronan on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:53:59 PM EST

You try to draw a distinction between arms and ordinance, and use 'bearability' as a measure. That means that a Stinger (shoulder-fired surface to air missle) is an arm that one can bear. So, until a policeman actually witnesses a person firing their Stinger at a commercial jet, the person must be free to set-up and take aim? How about a LAW (light anti-tank weapon (rocket))? Hand-grenades? 50mm grenade launcher? Shall we acknowledge an if-you-can-carry-it-you-can-bear-it law?

It would be suicidal to prevent the government from placing some kind of limit on what weapons can be owned by the public. And if that statement is accepted, then it should be accepted that a law allowing every citizen to own one .22 caliber pistol would legally satisfy the RKBA clause.

BTW: I like my 9mm Glock 17, and I don't think that the government should outlaw anything that it doesn't have to; I just don't beleive the the 2nd Amendment guarantees me my Glock.

Power as measure of rights (none / 3) (#260)
by ElPresidente1972 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 02:19:27 PM EST

What you are arguing is that the rights of an individual are to be measured by the power the individual can wield through their exercise.  They didn't have RPG's in the 1700's so that invalidates the guarantee to keep and bear arms, you say.  But they also didn't have the Internet, by which any joker exercising free speech rights can influence the lives of millions of people without respect to borders.  Should that then invalidate the right to free speech?

A free society protects the rights of individuals regardless of what power those individuals can wield through their exercise.

[ Parent ]

Good point, flawed logic (none / 2) (#286)
by sjf8 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:41:07 PM EST

Unfortunately your point undermines the conclusion that you draw.  Great selection of details, though!

The only thing your comment convinced me of is that there's no "absolute" answer to the question.  The power as a measure of rights must be constantly gauged...constantly reviewed and updated.  That's what the court system is for.

As the power of each individual changes with respect to the rights assigned to them by the constitution the judicial system has an obligation to "steer" the interpretation in the manner that makes the most sense for their time.

So, basically, upon review of the 2nd amendment in the age of Rocket Propelled Grenades, it seems that it is ludicrous to allow individuals to carry RPGs.

Upon review of the 1st amendment in the age of teh int4rweb, it seems ludicrous to allow individuals to spam the crap out of everyone's inboxes.  However, it seems well within the boundaries of the 1st amendment (particularly in light of the advances in media distribution technology) to allow folks the right to spread their opinion to a vastly larger audience than could ever have been envisioned by the Founding Fathers (c.f. The Electoral College)

The black/white lines you draw illustrate perfectly the need for constant review, interpretation, opposition of ideas and deep understanding of the problems we all face.

[ Parent ]

Actualy (none / 2) (#265)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:31:15 PM EST

The difference between Arms and Ordinance (in 17th century terms) is not just a distinction between weapons which are man portable and crewed but also a distinction of what type of targets they were designed to engage. Essentialy an "Arm" is a weapon designed to be borne by a single soldier and designed to engage a single soldier. "Ordinance" is designed to engage multiple targets, fortifications or vessels.

Thus a (modern) light mortar, though immenintly man-portable, would be considered "Ordinance" rather then an an "Arm". I believe the same holds true for a hand grenade .... although it might be properly considered a "Munition" rather then "Ordinance".

Alot of this might sound pretty obtuse. Millitary terminology (especialy of that period) really is but the terms have very precise meanings. For instance an order (of the period) to "take the hill" actualy has a very different meaning then an order to "carry the hill" even though most reasonably intellegent and educated people who aren't familiar with the intracacies of the period will take them to be identical.

[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#281)
by gandalf23 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 05:01:32 PM EST

Well, prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968, one could order a bazooka and ammo, or a cannon, grenades, machineguns, all sorts of stuff through the mail. http://www.atthecreation.com/fantasy/gunshop.html has several ads scanned in from the period.

My dad's buddy bought a towed 25mm French anti-tank cannon in the early 60s. IIRC it was $100 for the cannon, $100 for shipping, and $50 for 200 rounds of ammo. His buddy still has the cannon, although he's been out of ammo for years.

Never heard of anyone ever using a cannon or a bazooka in a crime in the US. At least not one that was legally acquired.

Of course, the whole purpose of the 1968 Gun Control Act was to keep inexpensive and/or millitary firearms/weapons out of the hands of us black folks. Didn't have _anything_ to do with crime.

[ Parent ]

Gun control as a form of racism (none / 0) (#336)
by randyk on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:15:24 PM EST

is nothing new, and gun control's roots are in racist laws that go back as far as 1792, when blacks were forbidden to serve in the militia, even though many blacks had taken up arms with their white brothers in the Revolution against the Crown.



[ Parent ]
jamming? (none / 0) (#352)
by majik on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 08:35:00 PM EST

I was looking into purchasing a 17 or a 19. I was hesitant because of some complaints about the pistol jamming when the spent cartridge ejects. Being cautious about such things, I did 4 runs down at the local range on a 17. It was very smooth most of the time, but I believe the last time I was there, I had at least a half a dozen such jams. What has your experience been like? How many times have you fired it? How often do you use it? What problems have you encountered? etc..
Funky fried chickens - they're what's for dinner
[ Parent ]
Glock reliability (none / 0) (#373)
by Guncrazy on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 04:29:23 PM EST

I've owned three Glock 19s and one Glock 30, and have fired the Glock 26 and 36. I've carried a Glock 19 nearly every day for the past 6 years. In my experience, all of them have functioned flawlessly. My next purchase, however, is probably going to a Springfield Armory XD-9 Sub-Compact. It's about $100 less than the Glock 26, has a grip safety, leaves off those damned molded finger grooves, and just generally fits my hand better.

Race is irrelevant 99.999% of the time. And the 0.001% of the time it is relevant, someone is looking for a donated organ.
[ Parent ]

Walther (none / 0) (#381)
by Bios_Hakr on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 11:19:55 AM EST

Look at a Walther P-99 before you throw down your money.  It's hard to describe, but they feel great... Almost an extention of your hand.  They are quite compact also.  Plus, the addition of the hammer indicator and the ability to easily let the hammer down without firing is great.

No stock safety or trigger safety could be a downer for you.

Plus, they are kinda expensive.  Not to mention all the Glock and M1911 owners will laugh at you.


[ Parent ]

what do the states say? (2.50 / 4) (#258)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 01:59:47 PM EST

44 states have constitutional provisions concerning the right to bear arms.  Some are modelled after the seconds amendment, some make it painfully obvious that it is an individual right.

Below are the ones that are clearly an individual right (for hunting, self defense, or any other lawful purpose).

Alabama: "That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state." Ala. Const. art. I, § 26.

Arizona: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men." Ariz. Const. art. 2, § 26.

Colorado: "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons." Colo. Const. art. II, § 13.

Connecticut: "Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state." Conn. Const. art. I, § 15.

Delaware: "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use." Del. Const. art. I, § 20.

Florida: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense (p.85)of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law." Fla. Const. art. I, § 8.

Idaho:

The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person, nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.

Idaho Const. art. I, § 11.

Illinois: "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Ill. Const. art. I, § 22.

Indiana: "The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State." Ind. Const. art. I, § 32.

Kansas: "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power." Kansas Bill of Rights § 4.

Kentucky:

All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:

....

Seventh: The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state, subject to the power of the general assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.

Ky. Bill of Rights, § I, para. 7.

Louisiana: "The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person." La. (p.86)Const. art. I, § 11.

Maine: "Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned." Me. Const. art. I, § 16.

Michigan: "Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state." Mich. Const. art. I, § 6.

Mississippi: "The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons." Miss. Const. art. 3, § 12.

Missouri: "That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons." Mo. Const. art. I, § 23.

Montana:

The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.

Mont. Const. art. II, § 12.

Nebraska:

All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among these are ... the right to keep and bear arms for security or defense of self, family, home, and others, and for lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use, and all other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof.

Neb. Const. art. I, § 1.

Nevada: "Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes." Nev. Const. art. 1, § II, para. 1.

New Hampshire: "All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property, and the state." N.H. Const. part 1, art. 2-a.

New Mexico:

No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.

N.M. Const. art. II, § 6.

North Dakota:

All individuals are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among which are ... to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringed.

N.D. Const. art. I, § 1.

Oklahoma: "The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons." Okla. Const. art. 2, § 26.

Oregon: "The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power." Or. Const. art. I, § 27.

Pennsylvania: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." Pa. Const. art. I, § 21.

Rhode Island: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." R.I. Const. art. I, § 22.

South Dakota: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be denied." S.D. Const. art. VI, § 24.

Tennessee: "That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime." Tenn. Const. art. I, § 26.

Texas: "Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime." Tex. Const. art. I, § 23.

Utah: "The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the State, as well as for the other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the legislature from defining the lawful use of arms." Utah Const. art. I, § 6.

Vermont:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State--and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.

Vt. Const. ch. I, art. 16.

Washington: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men." Wash. Const. art. I, § 24.(p.89)

West Virginia: "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use." W. Va. Const. art. III, § 22.

Wisconsin: The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose. (Art. 1, § 25) [passed November, 1998]

Wyoming: "The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied." Wyo. Const. art. I, § 24.

California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York do not have constitutional provisions on arms.


What's really telling... (none / 0) (#277)
by atomicokc on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:42:52 PM EST

Are the ones from the original states. It looks like most of the original states have a very specific right of the INDIVIDUAL to bear arms. This would seem to contradic the assertion that the intent was for state run militia's rather than personal rights. Now, I don't now how far back these state constitutions go, so that would change things a bit.

[ Parent ]
states (none / 0) (#297)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 07:13:09 PM EST

I think they date back to the 1770s. Of the 13 original colonies, 3 don't cover arms in their constitutions (New York, New Jersey, Maryland). Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina only mentions arms in terms of militias, like the second amendment.

Massachusettes (not included above) states: The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defence [sic].

Depending on what "the people" and "common defence" means, gun banner types could call that a collective right.

Georgia (not included above) states: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.

That's seems to be an individual right to me, with some restrictions permissible.

The other 5 states make it very clear that it is an individual right (ie, mention self defense, hunting, any purpose, etc).

[ Parent ]

you left off Ohio + comment about Alaska (none / 0) (#333)
by persona 9 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 01:51:58 PM EST

Ohio Constitution (Article I)

§ 1.01 Inalienable Rights (1851)

All men are, by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.

§ 1.04 Bearing arms; standing armies; military powers (1851)

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

copied from packing.org

It seems that people are having protest marches, while openly carrying firearms!

Have you heard this on ABC/NBC/CBS?

NO

How about from the NRA?

Nope, not them either.

Gee, I get one of the official NRA rags and they haven't had a peep about the new law in Alaska! Basically anyone who isn't a felon, and who is a resident, can carry concealed any time with no permit needed. Wow, Real Vermont style carry.

<sarcasm>I guess the blood is about to run in the streets. </sarcasm>
so why the hell is my account dead?
[ Parent ]

Firearms worthless for fighting a state? (2.50 / 8) (#272)
by sllort on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 03:57:14 PM EST

Everyone in this discussion seems to concur that personal ownership of firearms are insufficient for resisting a modern military. For achieving the goals of a modern military, this is true - but even in 2004, occupying a country requires thousands of soldiers on the ground with rifles. These rifles, the AK-47 and the M-16, are of the same quality available to consumers in America.

Are we then completely convinced that conquering a disarmed America is as easy as conquering today's America in which there are at least 200 million personal firearms?

I'm not entirely convinced that's true. America surely could not fend off the combined might of our military from occupation, but that does not mean resistance would be futile. As small bands of Iraqis are proving, occupying a country full of armed citizens means that every day, you are going to have soldiers killed. Ask ex-Soviet occupation soldiers from Afghanistan or a Vietnam Vet if occupying a nation full of armed citizens is a fun or productive venture.

An armed populace can kill their invaders and use guerilla tactics for ten, twenty years or more. Guns can be cached, stored, and maintained in secret very easily. And properly used they can still kill at a distance - even generals and dictators.

Whether or not the original purpose of combatting tyranny envisioned by the founders is still alive - this is a moot point, because the Second Amendment is Law either way, as is the quite useless Third.

However I do not believe that the intended purpose is dead. I do not believe that resistance is futile. I believe that anyone attempting to conquer America by force would have a very bloody job ahead of them indeed.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.

resisting it all (2.75 / 4) (#278)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 04:44:50 PM EST

Everyone in this discussion seems to concur that personal ownership of firearms are insufficient for resisting a modern military.

Is it really? I think it's a factor an invading army has to consider.

  • Vietnam
  • Bosnia-Hercegovina
  • Sarajevo
  • Chechnya
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
Small arms in the hands of guerillas/rebels/defenders seem to have had an impact in those recent conflicts against well equipped, well trained armies posessing nuclear capabilities.

[ Parent ]
Oh certainly, (none / 3) (#325)
by thejeff on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 10:50:14 AM EST

Once the world's strongest military has been defeated and the nuclear arsenal somehow rendered useless (or used, I suppose theoretically we could still be conquered after the invading army's homeland was a sheet of glass.)

Then yes, large numbers of private weapons could make it harder to pacify the country. Of course, most of the resistance movements in the last few decades have made heavy use of bombs, RPGs, SAMs, mortars and other ordinance unlikely to be found in private homes. External sources of supply would be needed, though much could probably be taken from military sources, along with the soldiers who always form the backbone of resistance.

Fantasies of Red Dawn aside, private citizens with hunting rifles aren't going to be driving invaders from our shores in any realistic scenario.  

[ Parent ]

I was not addressing the invaders scenario (none / 1) (#334)
by sllort on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:09:53 PM EST

I was addressing the scenario where the U.S. military is ordered to subdue America under martial law, and the American populace resists whilst the American military fragments into warring factions. For more information, please consult General Tommy Franks:

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/11/20/185048.shtml

Or if you're a baldrson wanker, the Turner Diaries.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Resisting. (none / 0) (#349)
by thejeff on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 05:54:48 PM EST

Ok, I was working from the references to attempting to conquer America by force, which misled me. And your examples were all of foreign occupying forces.

Even in the resistance scenario, I think the "warring factions" of the military would be far more significant than grassroots resistance, though guns would be useful for self protection in that kind of breakdown of law and order.

More importantly, before it gets to that kind of civil war/anarchy, I think that mass nonviolent protest and demonstration will be far more effective at keeping it from getting that far than any number of people holing up with guns, or even armed protests. If the military is ordered to stop a protest, do you think they're more likely to disobey if they're being shot at, or if theyre firing on peaceful unarmed people?

[ Parent ]

Depends on the military (none / 1) (#362)
by sllort on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 09:49:40 AM EST

The KGB used to love shooting at unarmed people, because it was less dangerous and more fun.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
True, (none / 0) (#380)
by thejeff on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 06:18:50 AM EST

But we're talking about making the transition, not a full-blown dictatorship.

[ Parent ]
Iraq (none / 1) (#371)
by John Asscroft on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 03:29:21 PM EST

If Iraqi sand niggers can make life miserable for the most powerful army to ever march across this Earth using nothing but small arms, I'm sure that American patriots could do so too. That's why I'm doing my darndest to make sure that American patriots are disarmed. When Donnie gives me the 4ID to play with here on American soil, I don't want them to get all shot up and my fun ruined!

Remember, if you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you're probably a terrorist and I'm watching you. Yours in Christ,

John Asscroft, Attorney General, Untied States of America
We must destroy freedom to save it from the terrorists who want to destroy freedom. Else the terrorists have won.
[ Parent ]

not quite (none / 0) (#426)
by wakim1618 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 05:22:09 PM EST

An armed populace can kill their invaders and use guerilla tactics for ten, twenty years or more. Guns can be cached, stored, and maintained in secret very easily. And properly used they can still kill at a distance - even generals and dictators.

It depends on what the invaders want. Historically, the victor assumed the right to slaughter the enemy. The geneva convention is a recent development and only a few military forces comply with it. If the enemy wants, small arms won't prevent someone (assuming the US military was somehow out of action and it is just the militias defending the homeland) from simply reducing the US to rubble and killing most of the population.

Small arms have been effective in Iraq only because the US is attempting to play nice. What is the easiest way to get rid of the perceived WMD threat from Iraq? Without constraints, the cheapest and most effective would be to reduce the country to rubble, kill enough people to reduce the country to anarchy, and bomb it back to the stone age.


If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.
[ Parent ]

well regulated (none / 2) (#303)
by persona 9 on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 08:59:19 PM EST

A well regulated (well run, efficient, orderly) militia (every able-bodied man), being necessary to the security of a free state (you know, free as in freedom), the right of the people ("the people", got that? understand what that means?) to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms, shall not be infringed.

You would think that, this wouldn't be hard to understand. And in fact, if you read the Federalist papers, and the Anti-federalist papers paper you really can't interpret it any other way. The founders also made it hard for the Constitution to be changed, in an effort to preserve rights and prevent a large federal government. It didn't work, we've been going downhill since the Whisky Rebellion.

What really pisses me of is that, for example, Congress can pass a law, banning flag burning. Someone can protest this, but burning a flag that night as a test case. Then, the Supreme Court reviews that case and issues a judgment, in a few days. Yet despite several carefully crafted test cases, over a span of 30 years, the Supreme Court has yet to consider a single case of "YES or NO, is the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right".

Makes you think that on one hand, they are scared of what the citizens would do with their "liberty's teeth" and on the other hand, scared of what the bloated fed-gov would do to them. They can't be scared of not getting that promotion, they've made it to the top already!
so why the hell is my account dead?

"supreme" court (none / 1) (#315)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 13, 2004 at 11:57:18 PM EST

It is a shame that the SCOTUS won't take any 2nd amendment cases. Of course, most 2nd amendment cases involve convicted felons and drug dealers with uzis... doesn't make you feel good like a flag burned exercising "free speech" does.

Given the makeup of the current court, I don't think anyone would like the outcome of a 2nd amendment case, though. Consider Sandra Day O'Conner's swing vote on using race for college admissions: "It may not be constitutional, but let's allow it for now, and maybe in 50 years it won't be an issue anymore". How supreme.

[ Parent ]

NRA has a bad PR department (none / 2) (#340)
by nlscb on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 02:41:54 PM EST

While I agree that there are very good arguments out there for (and against) gun rights, I feel the NRA does a very poor job of presenting the case. First, as pointed out earlier, it deliberately censors the first part of the second ammendment in the headings of its promotional material. While this part may very well support the bearing of arms without a militia, it makes looks as if they have something to hide or are avoiding the argument. As well, it alwasy seems they either have some middle aged guy from the south/non coastal western states or over made up model parroting the NRA's line making their arguments for them on TV. While they may be making good arguments for the right to keep firearms, to a North Easterner they sound as if they want to bring back the good old days of sanctioned lynchings. This may be unfair stereotyping, but if you are in the PR/lobbying biz, there is no excuse for ignoring this.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

Here's the problem with your arguement (none / 0) (#353)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 08:40:35 PM EST

It says you have the right to bear arms but it doesn't say the government can never make any law regulating guns.  Notice the First Amendment says,  "Congress shall make no law... bridging the freedom of speech."  Your interpretation of the Second Amendment does imply that people have the right to own nuclear weapons.  I don't think that they do or should.

Just because you can own a weapon doesn't mean you can own automatic weapons nor does it mean you can't be forced to wait 7 days.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

The constitution... (none / 2) (#355)
by purephase on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 09:19:50 PM EST

It was excellent for it's time, really, but this is a different world. At the time of drafting, the US was devastated after the struggle for independence. A large majority of the men of fighting age were either dead or injured, and in the tail end of a feudal part of human history, this was a dangerous position to be in.

The drafting of the constitution, and in particular the second amendment, was a desperate measure to ensure the fealty of the populace and ensure that there would be some sort of "army" (read: militia) able to thwart any possible enemy incursions. The fact that a lot of the meaning, language, and original intent are being questioned over 200 years since it's original draft is a good example of just how out-of-date the document truly is.

As highlighted in the article above, the supreme court has questioned and refuted decisions and appeals that use the second amendment as support. This is with good reason, and not simply because of the supposed "leftist" leaning of supreme court judges, and the lack of support from the ACLU. It is because the document no longer means what it once did, and as I said before, it's interpretation is repeatedly being questioned.

I would be interested to know what sort of affect the draft in WWII and Vietnam has had on the second amendment. Since the right to bear arms is an independent choice, the state forcibly selecting individuals and thrusting firearms into their hands is pretty much the anti-thesis of what the document stood for.

wha? (none / 1) (#377)
by ChannelX on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 05:55:43 PM EST

What exactly were you pulling gems like this from?

"The drafting of the constitution, and in particular the second amendment, was a desperate measure to ensure the fealty of the populace and ensure that there would be some sort of "army" (read: militia) able to thwart any possible enemy incursions."

The Constitution is a document to protect the rights of the people, determine the makeup of the government, and set out the powers of said government. It had absolutely nothing to do with thwarting 'enemy incursions' or ensuring 'the fealty of the populace'.  

I sincerely hope your not an American.  If you are the educational system you attended is seriously flawed.

[ Parent ]

old dead guys (none / 1) (#356)
by Fuzzwah on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 09:45:52 PM EST

Rules created by old dead guys which no long make sense in the present society need to be seriously questioned. It's my opinion that just because something made sense back when it was written doesn't mean it should be blindly followed now.

--
The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris

You are correct (none / 0) (#363)
by no carrier on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 11:27:42 AM EST

in saying that if something no longer makes sense it should be amended, however, you are very wrong if you think the right to bear arms is no longer needed.

For instance, in the Christian Bible, the chapter Leviticus lays out all sorts of rules about what animals should and should not be eaten. For centuries this was taken to be divine law. However, in today's society, with clean food and an understanding of medicine and health these passages are irrelevant.

However, the Bill of Rights is certainly not out-dated and still has as much, if not more, relevance in today's society as it did when it was written. You don't seem to grasp the importance of what these old, dead men had to say. Please realize that it is the basis of our entire (flawed as it is) government.

What most people who have posted in this thread does not seem to understand is that the entire Bill of Rights was written as protection of individual rights. What these old, dead men understood and planned very clearly was the protection of these individual rights. Probably because they had nearly had their individual rights taken away from them by force. They not only believed that government should provide these rights to its citizens, but that these rights went beyond government. "A bill of rights," Jefferson wrote, "is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, ore rest on inference."

The right of free speech gives of the ability to criticize and rally to change our government. The right to bear arms prevents the government from taking that right from us. Now, as far as degrees of gun ownership and freedom of expression, this is not the place to argue that (or, at least, I don't have the time to argue that now). Let us just hope that extreme viewpoints of either side continue to provide us with a reasonable middle ground.

Sadly, because our current government is trying to take away our individual rights, I believe that the second amendment, and what these old-dead guys had to say, is more relevant that any time in our nations history.


I stab people.
[ Parent ]
Repealing amendments not necessary, just ignore'em (none / 1) (#370)
by John Asscroft on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 03:25:44 PM EST

Yessirree, the Founding Fathers put a mechanism into the Constitution for changing it, even the point of being able to repeal amendments, but why go through all that fuss and muss when we can just ignore the parts of the Constitution we don't like? I mean, what're you going to do about it? I got all the law enforcement powers of the United States government on my side, what do you have on your side? Your prick? Yeah right, like that's going to do any good against one of my FBI Anti-Terra Task Forces!

Yours in Christ,
John Asscroft, Attorney General, Untied States of America
We must destroy freedom to save it from the terrorists who want to destroy freedom. Else the terrorists have won.
[ Parent ]

Here's a thought ... (none / 0) (#357)
by Erik240 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 12:26:50 AM EST

The NRA at one time made the argument that individuals should be allowed to own Uzi because they can use them to go hunting. Where in this text:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Does it mention hunting? Ok, so the article says that gun ownership should be allowed. If your argument is the 2nd ammendment, great. However, we'll take away your right to use weapons for any purpose OTHER then defense of self and state. That includes hunting, or any other recreational use.

Oh, and don't forget to sign up for your training as part of the militia. I think 2 saturdays a month, and two weeks a year outta cut it...

Militia (none / 1) (#360)
by felixrayman on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 02:37:54 AM EST

You join the milita by registering for the draft. The basis of the law allowing the draft is the law, mentioned in the story, which defines the milita as all men of certain ages. You can click on the links in the story you know. Try the "modern statutes" link.

As for hunting - the second amendment is not about hunting. If the NRA tries to argue it is, I certainly disagree with them.You can find a few state constitutions from the Revolutionary era that mention hunting, but when the founders argued that all men should be armed, they weren't talking about deer season.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
What they meant. (none / 1) (#359)
by jmv on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 02:27:12 AM EST

As a final question, what did the founders mean by a free state? Presumably not a state where rights can be arbitrarily taken away because someone decided they were "anachronistic".

I won't argue on the constitutionality of the right to own guns. I'm not a lawyer and I don't really know the US constitution (I'm not American). What I find disturbing is the never ending "what did the founders mean?" question. I mean, at some point, you have to move on. A constitution (in general) has to be a living document. Otherwise it ends up a lot like religion with all the different ways to interpret old sacred texts (and you know where that leads).

However forward looking those who drafted the US constitution might have been, you can't foresee everything. What if the constitution said that roads need to be reserved for horses? In Quebec, we had an old law that said hotels had to have a place for horses too. Though it stopped being applied, it was finally (but only in 1994) removed.

The Constitution means whatever I say it means (none / 1) (#369)
by John Asscroft on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 03:21:53 PM EST

And if I say that only FBI anti-terrorism task forces are allowed to have guns, well, that's what the Constitution says! And if you don't like it, tough luck, I have the FBI anti-terrorism task forces armed with assault rifles and flash-boom grenades and etc. and all you have is your prick. What how well your prick works against an FBI anti-terrorism task force!

Yours in Christ,
John Asscroft, Attorney General, Untied States of America
We must destroy freedom to save it from the terrorists who want to destroy freedom. Else the terrorists have won.
[ Parent ]

Very true (none / 1) (#382)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 11:45:27 AM EST

But we DO have a method for changing parts of the Constitution which are outdated... it's callled an Ammendment. An Ammendment requires significant public consensus, so it's not particulary easy to get passed. That is a good thing (imo) because it deals with the very fundamental principles by which our society and our government functions.
We see way too many instances of politicians passing laws without really considering thier full implications for everyone in order to gain temporary political advantage for themselves, as a knee jerk reaction to dramatic events or to cater to the interests of small but influential portions of the population. The Difficulty of getting an Ammendment passed acts as an important check against such practices.

The real heart of this issue is not whether a particular law makes sense for today but rather the fact that the law exists. It exists because at one point there WAS a significant public consensus that it should exist and if people want to change it they should go through a process which ensures there is significant public consensus to make those changes.

Unfortunately what we see far too often is various branches of our government (including the one charged with safeguarding the process) making an end run around the process of getting consensus for those changes. That is really the heart (imo) of what the authors article is about.... and what his previous articles about other portions of the Bill of Rights have been

[ Parent ]

Trusting the people (none / 0) (#366)
by darkseer on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 02:31:36 PM EST

Reading through the post I see many comments about how the constitution is outdated and what the founders said cannot apply to todays society. This is a sad opinion in my mind. It is my belief that the founding fathers intended exactly that the second amendment states on its face because: Fundementally trust lies with the people not the government.

Why is it a problem for me to own an UZI? It is understood that I will excesize judgement when using this weapon. The population must be trust worthy, since the government is composed from the people, if people are not, how can you ever expect the government to be? The ideas the founders of the USA expressed are not outdated, but they are being trampled on.

They that give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary saftey, deserve neither liberty or safety. - B. Franklin

Every government degenerates when left to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. -Thomas Jefferson

Here are the thoughts of the old dead guys. Are their throughts on human nature and governance outdated? Are their words not wise? I think they new precisly the implication of the second amendment when they wrote it, and nothing has changed significantly, since their passing, in terms of human nature. I have no problem with the regulation of weapons as cars are regulated, but the denial of the right to bear arms should be avoided at all costs. I believe firearms courses should be given along with drivers ED.

In short, your insecurity does not give you the ability to limit my freedoms and rights.

Even granting all your arguments... (none / 0) (#372)
by bwcbwc on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 03:56:27 PM EST

about the intention of the amendment and the Act of congress you cited ("That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia..."), the wording strongly implies that the constitution assumes that all people were allowed to bear arms because it was assumed that all arms-bearers would be members of the militia. The act of congress confirms this by requiring all male citizens to enroll in the militia.

So...that would mean that National Guardsmen and women should be able to own RPGs and anything else they want for private ownership.

Makes sense to me.

As far as the ability of a lightly armed citizen's force being able to take on the might of the US Army, look at Iraq. It's happening as we speak, and the problem of picking out "terrorists" from the general population would be compounded by the need to pick out "terrorists" from the army itself.

Removing the vacuum from the argument.... (none / 0) (#375)
by mbmccabe on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 04:39:02 PM EST

I do not necessarily disagree with the point you are trying to make, but instead of trying to pick a bunch of dead guys' brains, why don't you talk about - and form your argument around - reality?

What do you propose as the resolution for the apparent contradiction between the 2nd Amendment and all modern weaponry? You may not like it, I definitely don't like it, but the fact is that everything from "weaponized" anthrax to stinger missles are available to varying extents on the market today. (I'm assuming you're not on a reductio ad absurdum arguing against all arms regulation.)

What, if any, regulation could be drafted to comprehensively cover this specific range of weapons, and how would it work?

Answer this and an honest discussion can begin.

Until we can collectively come to this honest discussion, I actually believe the SCotUS's apparent stance of "not answering the question" is the correct one.

(As an aside, if that question were answered today, it would likely be an answer sourced from these guys. I doubt any human could seriously want (e.g.) what they want.)

Huh (none / 1) (#376)
by skim123 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 05:02:45 PM EST

[T]he term "arms" as used by the drafters of the constitutions probably was intended to include those weapons used by settlers for both personal and military defense. The term "arms" was not limited to firearms, but included several hand carried weapons commonly used for defense. The term "arms" would not have included cannon or other heavy ordinance not kept by militiamen or private citizens

It's too bad people back in the Founder's days had hard labor to do, occupying all their time, otherwise we might have had some smartass buy a cannon and plant it outside his house to test the Constitution. It would have been interesting to see how such an act would have been ruled on back in, say, 1795.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


From Rural to Urban (none / 0) (#387)
by NeantHumain on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 04:31:37 PM EST

The demographic composition of the United States has changed vastly since the Constitution was adopted. I have no doubt that the Founders tried to create a document that would last, but we must interpret the document from a modern perspective! When the Constitution was written, the United States was a young country, overwhelmingly rural. Most people made their living farming, and they lived somewhat isolated from others. There was no 911, and there weren't the urban gangs of today.

Now most Americans live in cities, close to their fellow citizens. We have very modern problems: road rage, drive-by shootings, drug dealers, and so on. Bearing this in mind, you would probably find it crazy to throw more weapons at the problem.

Enlightened by reality, we can interpret the Second Amendment anew: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." First of all, what's a well-regulated militia? The U.S. doesn't have the Minutemen anymore! Considering the second portion of this amendment, it becomes clear that a certain right to guns is provisioned for the national defense. We do have a national defense: the military and the police--both answer to civil authority.

Now let's talk about how the First Amendment is being misinterpreted when it limits political speech to "free-speech zones"....


I hate my sig.


Already did that (none / 0) (#388)
by felixrayman on Fri Jan 16, 2004 at 09:13:31 PM EST

Enlightened by reality, we can interpret the Second Amendment anew

There's only one legal way to "interpret the Second Amendment anew". That would be amending the constitution. Feel free to advocate an amendment that would revoke the right to keep and bear arms, I would vote against it. Until then, any infringement on the right to bear arms is illegal.

Considering the second portion of this amendment, it becomes clear that a certain right to guns is provisioned for the national defense. We do have a national defense: the military and the police--both answer to civil authority

This argument is addressed in the article.

Now let's talk about how the First Amendment is being misinterpreted when it limits political speech to "free-speech zones"....

We already did. Look at the article on the front page four places below this one.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
if(!parent_didnt_read_article) { spout_liberally } (none / 0) (#389)
by CAIMLAS on Sat Jan 17, 2004 at 01:50:47 AM EST

The demographic composition of the United States has changed vastly since the Constitution was adopted.

This doesn't change anything; if anything, it amplifies the position for the ownership of arms. People in cities are more easily subdued if there are no weapons in posession: there are less avenues of escape.


I have no doubt that the Founders tried to create a document that would last, but we must interpret the document from a modern perspective!

If I'm going to play along with your 'modern people are better than they were back then' assumption: How modern a perspective are we talking about? How about 1930's Europe? I seem to recall a little ommision from history books; it went something like this: Hitler's regime made gun owners register guns 'for their own protection' - and then took them away, so the citizens couldn't fight back.

If I'm not going to play along with your 'humans are evolving to be better' nonsense, and go with the factsthat humans are fundamentally base, as history, and current events suggest: Modern perspective, or not. It makes no difference. People are power hungry by nature, and there will always be people (politicians or ordinary 'consumers') that want more than they have. The only cases where a 'modern perspective' would change anything would be a) if humans stopped needing things and were mutually content, b) all government were abolished (which is a technical impossibility - if you and another person decide on something, and it's your suggestion, bam you've got government, and you're in charge), and/or c) everyone is dead. The 2nd Ammendment is there to protect citizens from their own country, first and foremost. Governments have always been able to readily rally citizens to fight for their cause; allowing citizens to be armed has been uncommon throughout history. Thus, it is explicitly stated.

When the Constitution was written, the United States was a young country, overwhelmingly rural. Most people made their living farming, and they lived somewhat isolated from others. There was no 911, and there weren't the urban gangs of today.


Once again, 911 won't save you from a corrupt lawman, a tyranic government, or the burglar/rapist in the kitchen, doing things to your [person you care about]. Crime occurs more often in big cities than it does in rural areas, too, so I'm not even sure where you were trying to go with this little bit.

The other guy covered the rest of your nonsense pretty well, so I'll not comment further.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Hello. (none / 0) (#390)
by Megahitler Electrodictator on Sat Jan 17, 2004 at 04:05:21 AM EST

There is, I think, a novel technological solution to the conflict between the demand for self-defence and the demand to live in a society free of deadly weapons.

It is to invent effective, non-lethal weapons for individual self-defence. A sophisticated tranquilizer dart might, for example, instantly incapacitate an assailant without killing him.

Such weapons, widely owned and carried, would dramatically aid individual self-defence, thus deterring violent criminals. Moreso, as ownership of deadly weapons would then be prohibited, both accidental and intentional gun deaths would be dramatically reduced. Strict penalties would well enough deter the hot-headed from abusing their non-lethal weapons.

This practical and reasonable policy would, I think, meet and even exceed the demands of all parties to the gun debate, by empowering the individual and making society a safer place.

There's no technological solution (none / 0) (#395)
by varjag on Tue Jan 20, 2004 at 10:36:25 AM EST

A sophisticated tranquilizer dart might, for example, instantly incapacitate an assailant without killing him.

An assaliant with tranquilizer dart might instantly icapacitate you, and then slowly rip you apart with kitchen knife.

Besides, the non-lethal weapons are available already, but are ineffective in practice. Gas pistols and pepper sprays, electric shockers wouldn't help you much against a determined attacker, and are completely useless against a violent group.

Having said that, I hold mostly anti-handgun position, but for different reasons. To the most people, a gun will give false sense of security, while in practice they wouldn't have time, skill or guts to use it; hovewer, wielding a gun and not using it will escalate attacker's response dramatically. Certainly there is a (small) percentage of population for whom a gun would save a life in a critical situation, but just the number of people who'd shoot themselves due to improper weapon handling would exceed it.

The guns as an argument against government doesn't holds too. Guns alone (even if automatic weapons and rocket launchers were made legal) would not beat a determined, modern military.

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#412)
by Megahitler Electrodictator on Sun Jan 25, 2004 at 08:51:42 AM EST

I completely agree with all four of your points. However, I don't think they add up to a compelling criticism of my proposal.

Firstly, no weapons prohibition regime will prevent a calculating criminal, such as your hypothetical kitchen-knife serial killer, from plying his trade. To provide such a person with a convenient tool does him no great service. The right of persons convicted of violent crime to keep and bear non-lethal guns would be suspended, and violations punished severely. In consequence, many criminals would choose to commit their crimes unarmed, making them to that extent less dangerous.

Secondly, I propose highly effective and reliable non-lethal weapons: in effect, guns that do not kill. Such a technology is not, in my opinion, infeasible.

Thirdly, I agree that to carry a non-lethal gun may in many circumstances be unwise. To palliate this, I would not object to mandatory training for non-lethal gun owners. And when, despite these precautions, one is so unfortunate as to be accidentally shot, death or serious injury will be unlikely.

Fourthly, I agree that the ownership of small arms is no longer a significant check on state power, and my proposal does not share that aim.

The true aim of my proposal, as I have said, is to satisfy the main demand of gun advocates: that individual people have the means to defend themselves, or at least to try; while also satisfying the main demand of gun opponents: that public safety be increased substantially.

[ Parent ]

Interestingly enough (none / 0) (#404)
by jasonditz on Thu Jan 22, 2004 at 01:05:01 AM EST

Here in Michigan non-lethal weapons of self defense (like tasers) are illegal to keep and bear.

Which, as far as I'm concerned, is fair enough. Civil resistance comes along, they have no right to bitch if all the rebels are using lethal means against them.


[ Parent ]

Interesting (none / 0) (#391)
by ShiftyStoner on Sat Jan 17, 2004 at 04:16:14 AM EST

 I see only one solution. Protect your right to bear arms from the central government by bearing arms. And using them. This is exactly why this amendment was made. To prevent psycho pigs from taking away our rights. Where's the militia? Sign me up...
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
Well (none / 0) (#393)
by Morimoto Masaharu on Sun Jan 18, 2004 at 09:31:12 PM EST

You know, as long as both amendments are upheld as per the constitution (and I agree with upholding the standards presented by the bill of right and those presented by the second amendment, therefore not fitting into your obtuse stereotype) it all works out fine. Of course the second amendment still has purpose! It has kept guns in the hands of civilians so that they are not all in the hands of criminals.
«This is Mr. Yoshida on your favorite vegetables.»
Re: Guns in the hands of citizens (none / 0) (#411)
by A55M0NKEY on Fri Jan 23, 2004 at 08:23:41 AM EST

Guns in the hands of citizens is a deterrent to would be criminals. This lessens the intrusiveness neccessary for the police to keep order, and so protects the other rights in the bill of rights from being chipped away at by pragmatic legislation to prevent crime.

People say that guns are obsolete in terms of real military power. This is false. Soldiers are still equipped with guns so they can't be completely useless. But the second ammendment affirms the moral value articulated that individuals have the duty and right to act violently in self defence against criminals who in the absence of nearby law enforcement would victimise them, against a foreign invader or enemy of the US that is on US territory, and even against any other State that oppresses them, including a State they are a citizen of. One lone rebel would be defeated, but if the oppression is so great that a majority of the populace would take up arms against the State then justice demands that the State be overthrown. Therefore people should have access to guns. An armed populace enforces that no state can govern without the consent of the majority of people.

Of course hand weapons like guns are democratic. There is only so much damage you can do with a gun, sword, or even gunpowder pipe bomb. But nowadays even hand weapons can give disproportionate military power to a single insane individual. A person can carry a nuke in a suitcase, or an equivalently deadly suitcase full of anthrax spores. These simply can not be legal.

But the democratic gun, though low on the scale of military power compared to some other weapons ( like stealth bombers ) that could be wielded by an individual still has the military power that the 2nd ammendment was created to protect. A gun-armed populace can not be ruled against their will. If a town of people decide to take up arms rather than submit to a government, then that government must either totally annihilate that town leaving nothing to rule, or expend massive manpower to police it. If every town decides to take up arms against the government, then there won't be enough police and the government will fall.

One gun armed government thug can cow 20 or more determined unarmed townspeople into submission. But give the populace guns, then the ammount of thugs required to oppress becomes comparable to the population of the oppressed. More deadly military weapons designed for use against other organized militaries would wreak so much destruction that any oppressor would still be forced to fight guns with guns. When the terrorists outnumber the police, then the terrorists become police and the police become the terrorists.

[ Parent ]

Second amendment as bargaining chip (none / 0) (#394)
by Rademir on Tue Jan 20, 2004 at 07:56:37 AM EST

In the context of laws and violence and all that of course, the thing that i find valuable about the 2nd amendment is we're supposed to be able to militarily resist the federal government, not just as states, but as individuals (or at least small groups). Even if we took the state-level idea seriously, they'd all have to have their own tanks, air force, etc. In this sense, the amendment has obviously been weakened tremendously (not all those who supported it in the first place shared this sentiment anyway).

Now, i think it's a great bargaining chip. We could push to let individuals own fighter jets, but instead how about we validate the status quo with an amendment that clarified more or less the current reality. And in exchange for giving all that up, the amendment straightens out some other messes and helps us hold government accountable. E.g. more transparency, more people's choice in where our money goes, overturn corporate personhood, we need to be creative if it's going to make people powerful enough to defeat missiles... Either that or we scrap the standing military :). Preferably both in the long run.

Consciousness is our Oxygen Challenge


Learn some history! (none / 0) (#420)
by marcmengel on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 12:22:52 PM EST

The reason people find the Second amendment (a right granted to the States, but stating that people can keep and bear arms) is confusing because people don't understand how things worked when the U.S.A. was formed.

The individual States had militias, and the members of those militias lived at home (much like reserve people do now), and kept their weapons (i.e. the militia's weapons which were allocated to them, or their own weapons which were used when they were acting with the militia) at their home. The second amendment guarantees to the States that Congress won't mess with that.

So if you're in your State National Guard, and you're keeping National Guard weapons at home, and someone tries to pass a law saying you can't, why then the Second Amendment comes into play. Probably even if you're a policeman and keep your sidearm at home, it would apply.

The misinterpretation of the Second Amendment pushed by the NRA, i.e. the claim that the second amendment prohibits any law against owning any kind of weapon, has been tossed out by the Supreme Court repeatedly. For example:

Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 95 (1980). Lewis recognized--in summarizing the holding of Miller, supra, as "the Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have 'some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia'"

So in summary, what most people who talk about it are calling their Second Amendment Rights are very confused, and this is a confusion intentionally perpetuated by groups like the NRA.

No, YOU learn some history... (none / 0) (#427)
by Zeolite on Thu Feb 05, 2004 at 08:32:09 AM EST

US Code Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311:

(a)

The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b)

The classes of the militia are -

(1)

the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2)

the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia

And, in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, the Supreme Court concluded that "the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense."

That, obviously, means you don't have to be in the National Guard to be part of the militia.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Why would that phrase in bold mean anything different than the rest of the first 10 amendments it is used in (I, IV, IX, and X)? If you try and change the meaning of "the people" in Amendment II, then it also changes it for the rest of the amendments; which would mean the Bill of Rights would be worthless.


----------
We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence upon those who would do us harm.
[ Parent ]

Context is important... (none / 0) (#428)
by marcmengel on Thu Feb 12, 2004 at 04:53:03 PM EST

The point was that "the people" who were part of that well-regulated militia could keep and bear arms.

If the founders just wanted to give everyone the right to bear arms, regardless, then why bring any mention of a well-regulated militia into it?

Saying that the two words "the people" have to mean the same thing everywhere in the Constitution only makes sense to "the people" who haven't thought about it very much, as opposed to "the people" who have.

[ Parent ]

but is the statement true... (none / 0) (#425)
by wakim1618 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 05:04:43 PM EST

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

A well regulated militia seems neither necessary or sufficent for its intended purposes. I consider 2 interpretations of the phrase 'security of a free state'.

It can't mean security from the armed forces of other nations since small arms can't do much against tanks, aircraft or missles. Or an internet-based attack.

It can't mean security against an American police state since the same argument above applies for the ineffectiveness of small arms.

In fact, it seems to be the case in many African countries where the 'right to bear arms' is the default situation - few governments can enforce a prohibition against the ownership of small arms. In many such cases, the result seems to be a series of violent anarchies. It is hard to imagine the obsession on the right to bear arms as anything more than an American fetish.

However, from the above statements, it does not follow that private individuals in American should not have the right to own guns, or that gun control will work.


If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.

What Good is the Second Amendment? | 428 comments (353 topical, 75 editorial, 2 hidden)
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