Home > Political Ranting > Gun Control

Gun Control

May 21st, 2006

Editor’s note: Please read the entire post before you comment. Apparently, a lot of people read the first several paragraphs (or perhaps no more than the title alone) and then assume they understand where I stand on the issue. Also, it might not hurt to keep in mind the difference between gun control and a gun ban; despite my explaining it clearly in the second paragraph, it seems not to register with a lot of people. Thank you.

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t touched on this particular subject yet. It is, after all, how I first got started in debating on the Internet. This is one of those perennial issues that gets argued back and forth over time, one which has two rather galvanized sides, and rivers of different factoids and studies that unfortunately shed little real light on the issue. So let me do what I did that first drew so much fire over a decade and a half ago on the Usenet, and state my opinion on the issue. This will be a bit of a long post.

Most people see this as a binary issue: you either are for free gun possession, or you’re not. This comes from the usual right-wing misrepresentation of the opposing side of the issue, often intentional, I would believe, to make people think that “gun control” is synonymous with “gun ban.” There is, as usual, a middle ground: actual gun control–not a ban–which does everything possible to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while not hindering the right of lawful citizens to keep and bear arms.

But first, let’s start out with a little background:

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.

That, of course, is the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Gun advocates read that to state a broad, sweeping individual right to possess and use any kind of firearm they wish, without any restriction. The Supreme Court, as well as several federal courts, read it differently.

At the time of the drafting of this amendment, the role of personal firearms was far different than what it is today. Firearms were the arsenal of the fighting forces of the colonies; men who fought would use their firearms to fight in the militia. While the same weapons were used for hunting and personal defense, it is their use in the context of the militia that is relevant here. That initial clause to the Second Amendment creates that context: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State….” Pro-gun advocates will dismiss the clause as window dressing, saying it is meaningless as a qualifier of the latter clause. One pro-gun site (cached) offers this possible wording to the free press clause of the First Amendment:

The ability of the people to criticize their government unmolested being a requirement of a free and open society, the rights of a free press shall not be infringed.

While the author of this site claims that such wording would not limit the press to only criticizing the government, he is incorrect; if the wording were written as such, the qualifying sentence, while not restricting the group which possesses the right, does restrict the purpose of the right. While it does not ban the press from doing anything save for criticizing the government, neither does it enable it to do anything else. Worded as such, a law, say, prohibiting the press from reporting on the private lives of celebrities would be entirely constitutional. Similarly, the initial clause of the Second Amendment qualifies the purpose of owning guns to militia activity.

Other gun rights advocates will say the clause is grammatically invalid. This argument falls to the rather obvious fact that the clause was set there intentionally; it is not meaningless, and it does qualify.

Then we get into what a “Militia” is. Gun rights advocates claim that everyone is a member of the Militia, and therefore the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right. This reading is usually justified by a reading of the Militia Act of 1792, which they usually quote as defining a militia as “every able-bodied citizen.” Of course, the original text cites “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,” and further details enrollment requirements, as well as details of armament including “a good musket or firelock” and other outdated accouterments. A detailed reading clearly requires active enrollment in such a militia, not just the fact of being over 18.

In fact, there is a distinct difference between the “organized militia” and the “unorganized militia”; the Militia Act of 1903 (a.k.a. the Dick Act) defines that difference, as described in Wikipedia’s entry on the Second Amendment:

Further clarification was provided in 1990, in Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334 (1990). In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, “The Dick Act divided the class of able-bodied male citizens between 18 and 45 years of age into an “organized militia” to be known as the National Guard of the several States, and the remainder of which was then described as the “reserve militia,” and which later statutes have termed the “unorganized militia.” … “In 1908, however, the statute was amended to provide [496 U.S. 334, 343] expressly that the Organized Militia should be available for service “either within or without the territory of the United States.”

Ergo, a “well regulated” militia is equal to the “organized” militia, which limits the Second Amendment to weapons used by the National Guard. It would be impossible to suggest that the reserve militia–essentially everyone not in the National Guard–is somehow “well regulated.” I’ve even heard some gun advocates say that the “well regulated” qualification in the Second Amendment only means that someone have a firearm in working order. I would beg to differ.

I would further point out that in the drafting of the Second Amendment, a reference to conscientious objection was considered to allow for those whose religions did not let them commit violence. If the Second Amendment was truly about individual rights and not about military service, then this consideration would not have arisen.

Suffice it to say that the Second Amendment does not imply an individual right to keep and bear arms. Now, having gone through all that, you probably expect me to conclude that a ban on guns in constitutional. That is not the case. The right to keep and bear arms is not, in my opinion, guaranteed by the Second Amendment. However, in my debates with gun advocates over the years, it has been pointed out to me that this right is bestowed under the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Since there is precedence for rights to ownership of firearms in pre-revolutionary law, and since the right to keep and bear arms would fall under the Ninth, I see this as established (though I am hardly a legal expert).

So, now you perhaps expect that I approve of unrestricted gun ownership? Well, not so fast. It’s the “unrestricted” part that I have a problem with.

Every right comes with responsibilities. The Ninth Amendment does not guarantee unrestricted rights–in fact, I don’t believe any right is fully unrestricted. There are always exceptions, caveats, special cases. You cannot libel or slander, nor recklessly endanger through free speech, for example.

Some gun advocates have argued that there is a distinction between these exceptions and those imposed by gun control: gun control, they say, applies “prior restraint,” to mean that gun control applies “punishment” before an illegal act has been carried out. Gun control restrains not just those who would act illegally, but those who act within the law as well. Prior restraint should not be applied, they say; only punish those who use guns illegally, after the fact; gun control is oppressive.

I disagree with this on the grounds that the rights of one person do not exceed those of another; this is commonly expressed as “your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.” You have the right to travel, and to use an automobile to do so; but you do not have the right to jump into a car at age 16, untrained and unlicensed. We impose prior restrictions on dangerous activities, from driving a car to handling explosives. One must be trained, tested, and licensed. The same should be true, and also perfectly legal, in the context of gun ownership.

So while I believe that there is an individual right to keep and bear arms, I do not believe that this is an unrestricted right, free from obligations or exceptions. And those obligations and exceptions would entail gun control. If you want to own and use a gun, you should at the very minimum be required to demonstrate knowledge how to safely operate and store the weapon; in addition, you should be prepared to take responsibility for whatever happens with regard to the firearm you possess, and you should allow for whatever gun control measures that can inhibit illegal firearm possession and use, so long as they do not unduly restrict your right to own and use firearms.

So, what does this mean? First, I believe that one must be trained, tested, and licensed in firearm use and safety before being allowed to purchase a firearm. Such is precisely the process we undergo to drive a car, and we all are pretty much satisfied that this process is not an undue burden on the individual, when weighed against the safety considerations to society in general.

Here is where some in the gun crowd will bring up the Hitler gambit. What if, they say, the United States were to fall under the iron rule of a Hitler-like dictator? Gun registries were used by Nazis, they say, to round up personal firearms in WWII. I don’t know if this is true; it may well be. However, I do know that it is irrelevant, and not sincerely reasoned; it is an excuse, not a rationale. If an oppressive, fascist dictator were to take over the country (allowing for the right-wing stance that this has not in fact already happened in the past few years), then that dictator would not immediately go for the guns. Guns, in fact, would be a distant third on the list of things to oppressively control. The first would be communications, and the second would be travel. Guns would be a distant third because they would be relatively ineffective as a means of resistance or revolution. Any such dictator would, by definition, have to have the willing cooperation of the military in oppressing the people. And despite all right-wing “Red Dawn” fantasy scenarios, hunting rifles and handguns will pale in effectiveness relative to weapons owned by the military. As we have seen in Iraq, an insurgency does not fight like a Revolutionary War militia; handguns do not figure largely in the big picture.

Additionally, look at the history of the past century. How many oppressive dictatorships were overthrown by a people using personal firearms? Few, if any. Now, how many were overthrown by an unarmed populace? South Africa, the Philippines, and the Soviet Union come to mind as a few examples. Revolution does not come at the point of personal firearms, not any more.

So training, testing, and licensing should be required. Second: registration. If possible, bullets should also be registered, like they are in Switzerland (the NRA loves to bring up Switzerland as an example of universal gun ownership with low gun crime rates–until you point out their very strict gun licensing and registration laws). Just as explosives are tagged, a way should be found to tag bullets as well. If you bought a weapon and ammunition, you should be willing to face responsibility for what happens to these items; registration will help accomplish that.

Gun advocates point out that guns can have serial numbers removed, and that homemade bullets can be used. Well, license plates on cars can be switched or forged, along with other tricks, but we don’t give up on auto registration just because some criminals are resourceful. Most criminals are not, and registration of firearms and ammunition would help more than enough to justify the inconvenience involved.

Next, loopholes in gun control laws must be closed. One of the biggest is gun shows and gun trafficking. Criminals can easily visit a gun show in a state where there are few or no restrictions, buy dozens of firearms, then transport these to a state with strong gun control laws. Illegal gun trafficking is a major problem that could be fixed by simply limiting the number of firearms one person may purchase to one every few months, or, say, three every year. Special exceptions would be granted to law enforcement and security agencies, and licensed gun collectors and dealers. The restriction would allow lawful citizens to acquire a large number of guns over time, more than any ordinary citizen would ever need. But it would virtually halt gun trafficking.

Next, background checks should be universal. Such background checks have proved highly effective. In just four years after background checks were instituted in California, Florida, Virginia and Maryland, 47,000 illegal gun purchases were stopped, and more than a few wanted criminals were arrested trying to purchase guns.

One argument against gun control laws is that they are ineffective; despite these laws, criminals have guns, and they use them. Well, one reason is that gun control laws constitute a patchwork quilt full of holes, not a complete blanket over the nation. Gun advocates like to point to the legendary “20,000 laws,” supposedly the number of gun control laws that exist in the country; they point out that even with so many laws, gun control is ineffective. The truth is, gun control is ineffective because of the 20,000 laws. Since the NRA has been so effective at blocking gun control legislation at the national and state levels, individual municipalities have been forced to enacts sets of their own laws if they want to have them; ergo the large number. However, the fault is in the fact that many cities and states do not have gun control. That and other loopholes allow criminals to get their hands on guns in one locale and then transport them to a place with stricter gun control laws. This is why the vast majority of guns confiscated from criminals in New York, which has strong gun control laws, were bought out-of-state. The fact that criminals went to greater trouble and expense to buy weapons elsewhere in fact proves that the gun control works; the lack of gun control elsewhere is the culprit.

As a result, the “20,000 laws” should all be repealed, and one comprehensive, nation-wide gun control act with the details I have given should be enacted.

One of the problems that gun control has faced, however, is the fear instilled by the NRA that gun control will lead to gun confiscation and a gun ban. This is what frightens gun owners who would otherwise approve of gun control into blocking such legislation from passing. If the Ninth Amendment is not enough, then a new amendment should be drafted and passed, one which specifies gun ownership rights, but also notes the necessity of limited gun control. The purpose of such an amendment would be to relieve the concerns of gun owners who would support gun control, but fear the laws would go too far. With a new guarantee in place, better and universal gun control laws could be more easily enacted.


To sum up: individual gun ownership is guaranteed, but gun control is necessary and lawful. Said gun control should include mandatory training, testing, and licensing; registration of weapons and ammunition; background checks; and limits on the number of guns purchased at any one time. These laws must be universal. They would not unduly restrict gun ownership rights of lawful citizens, but would make illegal gun ownership much more difficult.

One more argument from the gun advocacy side remains: gun control will never stop crime. Well, duh. Of course it won’t. Nothing ever will. But effective gun control will make it far more difficult for criminals to obtain and use firearms. Not impossible, but far more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. More criminals will be deterred, stopped, and arrested.

And that’s the whole idea.

Categories: Political Ranting Tags: by
  1. ykw
    May 22nd, 2006 at 02:28 | #1

    I think wikipedia is a
    terrific place to research
    these kinds of issues !

    g

  2. Anonymous
    May 22nd, 2006 at 13:13 | #2

    Suffice it to say that the Second Amendment does not imply an individual right to keep and bear arms.

    Sorry. You’re just flat-out wrong on this one. The Second Amendment was plainly intended to say EXACTLY that an individual does have the right to keep and bear arms.

    If the writers of the Bill of Rights had meant that a “militia”, or a “State”, had the right to keep and bear arms, they would have said precisely that; those terms are used, after all, distinctly and separately from the word “person” or the word “people”.

    What’s more, the word “people” is used in other places in the Bill of Rights. For example, the Fourth Amendment:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…

    Surely you do not mean to suggest that here, “the people” doesn’t refer to individuals? That there isn’t an individual right to be secure from the government poking through your stuff?

    I’m willing to buy the notion, for the sake of argument, that the REASON the Founders put an individual’s right to keep/bear arms into the Bill of Rights was for militia-type purposes.

    But if we’re going to get into the notion of trying to find out why they thought that was important, we’re going to have to accept that the basic reason was because they had just come through a period where repressive governments would frequently not allow people to own guns, so those people couldn’t fight back against the government.

    Given that, doesn’t it seem ridiculous to then argue that the GOVERNMENT should be allowed to have restrictions- even “reasonable” ones- on gun ownership?

    No, plainly the Founders were saying “because you might need guns to fight the government and be an effective part of the militia, you have the right to own a gun and that right shall not be infringed.”

    What’s more, take it another notch. Say the gun owner (like, for example, me) is willing to grant your ideas about why the right to keep/bear arms is in there. What would serve as an “infringement” upon my right? Where’s the dividing line between “reasonable” and “infringement”?

    Is it an infringement for the government to say “Paul, you can’t own a nuclear weapon”? I don’t think even the most ardent NRA member would argue that point.

    But how about “Paul, you can’t own an artillery piece”? Or “Paul, you can’t own an automatic machine gun”? Or “Paul, you can’t own a semi-automatic gun”? Or “Paul, you can’t own a gun that carries more than ten bullets at a time”? Or “Paul, you can’t own a gun that carries more than one bullet at a time”?

    What’s a reasonable restriction? If a gun shop has to run a background check on me but then can sell me any gun they’ve got, is that reasonable? How about if I have to wait a year before buying a gun? A month? A week? 5 days?

    The point is that to some people, ANY restriction might well be seen as an infringement- by the very institution (the government) that the right to keep/bear arms was intended to keep in check!

    What’s more, many State constitutions are more clear and specific about the right to keep and bear arms. Some of these are earlier than the US Constitution, some are contemporary with the federal Bill of Rights, and some have come later.

    For example, Pennsylvania’s 1776 Declaration of Rights included the first provision guaranteeing a popular right to arms, and its language established the pattern for the analogous guarantees subsequently included in other state constitutions. The Pennsylvania guarantee stated:

    “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state.”

    This certainly makes clear that it’s not about the state, or the militia; the right is about individual people’s right to defend themselves.

    The problem with the notion that “gun control” could take the shape of such seemingly reasonable proposals as you mention, like:

    “at the very minimum be required to demonstrate knowledge how to safely operate and store the weapon…”

    is that those very same arguments were sometimes used to deny people their rights. Think of requiring people to be required to demonstrate knowledge of the issues, of how to be able to read and right, and how to properly operate the balloting method if you want to be able to vote.

    (Actually, given the results of some elections in this country, requiring people to demonstrate at least SOME critical thinking ability prior to voting might not be a bad idea, but let’s not go there.)

    How accurate should someone be able to shoot prior to being allowed a weapon? Do they have to meet, say, military qualification standards? Or do they only have to be able to hit the broad side of a barn with a shotgun from ten feet?

    The problems with gun control are many and you can easily see how a paranoid gun owner would think that your “reasonable demonstrations” would serve as a way of denying him his right to keep and bear his gun.

    (After all, many of those same gun owners were redneck racist scumbags who were using similar literacy test laws during the Jim Crow era to keep blacks from voting- they ought to well know the hazards in having “reasonable” restrictions on basic rights.)

    I’m not an absolutist. I’m a gun owner who sold my semi-auto handgun (a really nice H&K USP) because I didn’t really need it, never used it, and never practiced enough with it to feel like I could competently wield it for much of anything.

    And despite the obvious dangers in having “reasonable” laws, and the problem of trying to define exactly what’s “reasonable” and what isn’t, I can live with (and indeed support) some gun control laws.

    What I think we really need is a healthy discussion of whether or not it’s time to get rid of the Second Amendment entirely, and replace it with something that makes more sense in today’s day and age.

    But the gun-control people don’t particularly want to do THAT, because they know that the public will respond pretty negatively to the notion of messing around with the Bill of Rights… and because a large portion of the public is liable to be swayed by the arguments that the NRA would put forth.

    So, how do we find resolution in this area? To be honest, I don’t think we ever will. Instead, the system we have now- ugly as it is- offers us the best method we can come up with to balance out what’s “reasonable” against an individual’s right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself and to defeat tyranny.

    There’s a pretty interesting paper on this subject at:
    http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/McAffeeAndQuinlan1.html

    Paul
    Seattle, WA

  3. Luis
    May 22nd, 2006 at 13:38 | #3

    Paul:

    What’s more, the word “people” is used in other places in the Bill of Rights. For example, the Fourth Amendment…
    Yes, but you’ll notice that the Fourth Amendment, like the Second, qualifies the right:The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.The Fourth Amendment does qualify the rights enumerated, within special contexts, just like the Second.

    The Second Amendment qualifies the right to keep and bear arms, limiting it to Militia use. The word “people” is not in disagreement with this reading, because in the Constitution as originally written, the word “people” generally described free white males, who were, at the time, more or less all required to do militia service.

    Regardless even of that, the people still have that right–but only in the context on militia service. Just like, with the Fourth Amendment, people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects–but only in the context of the absence of probable cause.

    Given that, doesn’t it seem ridiculous to then argue that the GOVERNMENT should be allowed to have restrictions- even “reasonable” ones- on gun ownership?
    No more ridiculous than the restrictions on the right to be secure from search or seizure, giving the same government the people are being protected from the right to search and seize in specific contexts. Shouldn’t the government have even reasonable restrictions on the right to be secure, allowing for warranted searches? The same government that the Fourth Amendment protects us from?

    You’re forgetting here that at the time, the militia was not seen as a government army; the founders, in fact, specifically feared a standing federal army. The militias were seen as state organizations that would stand against an oppressive government, and within the confines of the Second Amendment, those militias could not have their weapons ownership restricted by the federal government. The founders saw the state militias, not unorganized individuals, as the bulwark against an oppressive state. Therefore the ownership of guns was not restricted within the militias. If you were not in a militia–say, if you were not white or male–then you did not have that right.
    For example, Pennsylvania’s 1776 Declaration of Rights included the first provision guaranteeing a popular right to arms…
    Then it is of note that such a popular right was not enumerated in the federal Bill of Rights, and that the restricting clause was added. Remember my mention that conscientious objection was an issue; this is nonsensical in the context of an individual right, and only makes sense in the context of strict militia service.What I think we really need is a healthy discussion of whether or not it’s time to get rid of the Second Amendment entirely, and replace it with something that makes more sense in today’s day and age.

    But the gun-control people don’t particularly want to do THAT, because they know that the public will respond pretty negatively to the notion of messing around with the Bill of Rights… and because a large portion of the public is liable to be swayed by the arguments that the NRA would put forth.
    Umm… I don’t think you read my post all the way through–because that is exactly what I proposed near the end.

    Did you get to the part where I spoke of the Ninth Amendment? Maybe that would help alleviate your concerns with other points you referred to.

  4. matthew
    May 22nd, 2006 at 10:59 | #4

    Nice post and a very strong argument. I think the weakest point is the limiting of the number of firearms one can purchase. Your analogies of cars and guns makes a very useful comparison but no one would argue limiting the number of cars a licensed and trained driver could purchase. In fact, are there any products on the market that have a limited number you can purchase? Just wondering.

    But of course the gun show problem remains.

    gohan for thought
    matthew

  5. Luis
    May 22nd, 2006 at 12:00 | #5

    Thanks, Matthew. The limitation of gun purchases is not an original idea of mine; in fact, the state of Virginia restricts handgun purchases to one per month, with exceptions to those whose guns are reported stolen and report that they are in immediate danger.

    The idea, as I wrote in the post, is to stop gun trafficking, which is a major problem. About 90% of guns confiscated in New York (if I recall the number correctly) are from out-of-state; this is because New York’s gun control laws are pretty tough. Therefore, traffickers go to another state, like West Virginia, visit a gun show where there are few if any restrictions, and buy a large number of guns. They drive these guns back to New York, and sell them to criminals, or anyone who wants to buy, at a premium.

    Limiting the number of guns one could purchase per month would end this practice, and make it much harder for criminals to buy guns. Only licensed dealers and collectors, or those in law enforcement or security could buy more than one gun at a time, and since they would be heavily licensed and the weapons tied to them, they would not be easily able to traffick in illegal gun sales without getting caught.

    The restriction does not hinder law-abiding gun owners in any way. Who needs to buy more than twelve guns a year? More than 120 per decade? No one, save for the exceptions listed above, who could get special licenses. The idea is to have a gun control law which is effectively invisible to a lawful gun owner, but acts like a brick wall to criminals.

    The car analogy isn’t really applicable here; as far as I know, there is no equivalent trafficking situation for cars. Nobody tries to buy a hundred cars in West Virginia, then drives them back to New York. Guns are different, so the restriction would be reasonable and effective–but only if it is nationwide.

    By the way, I wrote that one late at night and did not proofread. This morning, I am going over the post and patching up a few holes that I did not catch in the process of writing.

  6. Paul
    May 22nd, 2006 at 15:02 | #6

    I did read it all the way through, but I lost track a little bit at the end. :)

    Anyway, it’s still a good post, even if we’re not on the same page. As I just told someone on my blog, it’d be boring if we all agreed 100% of the time.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth- I can’t get the comments page to load up in MSIE under WinXP at all. It loads about halfway down through your post, and then just stops, as though that’s the entire page. I’ve seen it do that before, and then it was fixed for a while, and now it’s doing it again.

    Paul
    Seattle, WA

  7. Luis
    May 22nd, 2006 at 15:14 | #7

    I should probably put a disclaimer near the beginning warning readers to stay with me–when writing, I did realize that it would be easy to see a monolithic anti-gun point of view from the beginning, and that my change of direction halfway through would be somewhat disorienting…

    As for MSIE… grumble grumble… I tested this comments page in MSIE 6 (on XP via Virtual PC on a Mac) and in MSIE 7 (the beta, running on XP native on a PC), and both loaded the comments page without incident. You might want to reset the settings–or even upload the beta version of MSIE 7, which is far superior, even as a beta, to MSIE 6–presuming you haven’t already.

  8. September 8th, 2006 at 11:01 | #8

    I am hoping that your comments are moderated so that you will see this in time. I am hosting an open call-in podcast on TalkShoe.com this coming Saturday Night and came upon your blog during my research. I find your opinion fairly close to mine although I lean a bit more toward gun owners rights. I would like to invite you to join in on the discussion if possible. The TalkCast is known as Rebuilding Eden and if the first talkcast listed in the family section. As I mentioned, the Gun Control talkcast will be Saturday night, 09/09/06 at 11:00pm EST which would make it mid-day for you if you are living in Japan. That in itself will bring a great perspective to the show and I hope you can join us. Please feel free to contact me via email to myname at rebuildgineden.com Thank you, John

  9. AaronM
    February 22nd, 2007 at 06:57 | #9

    There is a new proposed assault weapon ban being proposed in congress. It is HR 1022, 13 February 2007. There is also a interesting poll on the bill at http://www.misterpoll.com/poll.mpl?id=412679095

    Do you agree with this form of “gun control”?

  10. Luis
    February 22nd, 2007 at 10:11 | #10

    Aaron: if you read the above post, then you should know the answer–but I suspect that you’re simply making the rounds of blog posts on gun control and are not really reading them for content nor asking the question in response to anything. Esle your question would be different.

    As for the “poll” you reference, it’s a perfect example of extreme bias in the formation of questions–a classic “push poll.” I imagine you would not exactly approve of a poll that had “questions” like, “Did you know that firearms kill the owner more often than an intruder?” or “Do you support the sale of guns built for the sole purpose of mass slaughter?”

  11. Suzanne
    March 19th, 2007 at 08:07 | #11

    Hello, for what its worth:

    I am a female with two little girls and I own a glock 9MM to protect us when we are at home. If the gun control were to take place then I would have no defense whatsover.

    I would only use it in my OWN home if God forbid there would be any danger.

    The gun control would only keep me from defending my family. but the criminals would still find a way to get the guns. They obviously are not interested in respecting the law. We have people all over the world not doing the right thing, selling nuculear materials and other horrible things to each other, even though it is not right.

    I am sick and tired of hearing about Hollywood and how they want us to stop having firearms, but yet they are surrounded by bodygaurds who carry them.

    I have NEVER been a violent person, I don’t like guns at all and would not normally carry one. I don’t even like hunting.
    But I want the right to defend, or even die, fighting to protect my family, then to just sit there and watch.

    I refuse in these violent times to just sit back and allow criminals to continue harassing and killing innocent people. If I did not have my gun, my children and I would be vunerable sitting ducks in our OWN home. (It should be a personal choice not a government choice)

    I would like to know when the good and true american people are going to stop spending so much time trying to keep innocent people from defending themselves and start doing a little more to put and KEEP criminals away for good. We can’t even keep them in jail.

    Why don’t we all just put invitations on our doors to all the criminals: “COME ON IN, WE WON’T DEFEND OURSELVES, WE ARE GOOD CARING PEOPLE AND YOU CAN TAKE TOTAL ADVANTAGE OF US”

    We bring up and second guess our constitution when it comes to gun control. But we want to be absolutely FAIR and JUST when it comes to the criminals rights.

    We even have passed laws now in some states that we can’t even have certain dogs in our homes to protect us.

    Granted, there are some irresponsible gun handlers and (dog owners)out there, but that does not mean we all are. There is more of us, then there is of them. There are some police officers that are irresponsible with their guns, that doesn’t stop them from carrying them, does it? Would we want all police officers to stop carrying guns? That would really be great, then we could make it so we have absolutely NO PROTECTION for ourselves at all, right?

    Absolutely UNBELIEVABLE!!! It really is.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!
    USE YOUR BRAINS… We are allowing more and more rights to be taken away from us. But what makes it worse, is that we are doing it to ourselves.

    We the american people just can’t seem to quit stabbing ourselves in the back, until we have no rights at all.

    Why don’t we start worrying about the more important things, like the fact that all of our jobs are being outsourced to other countries and etc….

    BUT NO, I have a better idea, lets just continue to tie that noose a little bit tighter… and tighter around our necks. We really do such a great job at it!!

    Brains people, Brains…Use them, they can be amazing things… If you use them correctly.

    That’s my opinion (FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH)

  12. Luis
    March 19th, 2007 at 09:39 | #12

    Suzanne:

    Thank you for your comment. Although the error you make stands out from the very beginning of your writing, it is a key error that causes most of the problems encountered in passing effective gun control.

    The error: you do not distinguish between gun control and a gun ban. Were you to read my article all the way through, you would note that I am not proposing a gun ban. Instead, I would be proposing gun control designed to both optimize gun safety and keep guns out of the hands of criminals while allowing people like yourself maximum access. If you don’t want to actually read the post, here is a rundown:

    The Automobile Paradigm: getting and owning a gun should be like getting and owning a car. Why don’t we allow people to drive cars without first getting a license? Because cars are dangerous, and letting untrained people drive them would get people killed. We have the right to reasonable travel, but that right brings with it the responsibility of training and licensing. No one I know has suggested we abandon this as being too restrictive. If someone wants to own a weapon that could kill their neighbors if misused or stored improperly, they should be required to prove to their neighbors and to the society that they can use it safely. A simple, $10 or $20 test which shows understanding of gun safety rules and usage of the weapon would be adequate.

    The paradigm also includes registration. Since guns are used in so many crimes, why not register them? Sorry, but the argument of “when Hitler takes over he’ll use registration records to take our guns” is bull. A dictator would be more inclined to take away our cars and communication than our guns, yet we have no problem with registration for those. Each weapon should be registered and the barrel scoring for each should be recorded; and better yet, each piece of ammunition should be tagged and followed through its sale as well.

    What will this mean for the average user? You must train to use a weapon safely (you should have done so anyway) and pay for licensing and registration like virtually every American does for a car anyway. The costs will not be prohibitive.

    Other gun controls will barely affect you, but they will be giant roadblocks for criminals: a thorough background check (never committed a felony? Then, no problem. Think it’s a violation of your privacy? Then why don’t you object to such checks when you apply for a loan?). You would pass such a check smoothly; a criminal with a record would get stopped cold. Such checks instituted in the past few decades have led to tens if not hundreds of thousands of criminals getting arrested, and stopped many, many more from purchasing guns easily.

    Also, gun purchases should be limited to, say, three guns per year, with special exceptions for gun collectors, resellers, or security firms and the like. This will be invisible to you as you don’t need more than three guns a year (think you’ll buy 30 in the next decade?), but it will slow the supply of guns to criminals to a trickle. How do you think criminals get past gun controls? Because in some states, gun shows are allowed to sell any number of guns with only the most cursory of checks, allowing gun runners to buy large numbers, drive to another state which has stricter gun control, and then sell them to criminals on the street. Limits on the number of guns sold to a person, along with gun registration, will stop those cold.

    Will the above control stop all gun crime and prevent all gun deaths? Of course not, just like car registration and licensing does not stop all car crimes and car deaths. But just as with cars, controls on guns will cut that number significantly, and will not affect the legal user more than absolutely necessary.

    Having that gun you have brings with it responsibilities. It is possible to own up to those responsibilities without having to go nearly as far as a gun ban.

    However, because people such as yourself do not distinguish between a gun ban and reasonable gun control, you and others prevent reasonable gun control from being passed–which, ironically, puts your two little girls in far greater danger.

  13. Marching to the beat of a drum
    April 17th, 2007 at 23:18 | #13

    Ok, so make it harder for the upstanding law abiding citizen to purchase and own a weapon (Gun) so that the criminal who does not consider the law (who will get a gun) can walk into MY house and take what he/she wants, rape my children and my wife then shoot, kill and maim all . I don’t think so, I own several guns. I dare you to take them from me! It is my constitutional privilege to keep and bare arms for the protection of myself, my family, my property’s and my country.

    I am not the sheep, I will be the shepherd if needed. If you don’t like our country GET OUT NOW!

    If you think we need more diversity, go somewhere else.

    If you believe more laws will make us better, SLAP yourself!

    Take a good look around… Our country was founded with an understanding that WE THE PEOPLE ! ! ! ! can and will take care of ourselves.

    If we DONT stand up and fight for what is our privilege we will lose them all… The Democratic Society must endure without Totalitarian rules…

    Thank You for listening.

  14. Luis
    April 18th, 2007 at 08:35 | #14

    Ok, so make it harder for the upstanding law abiding citizen to purchase and own a weapon (Gun) so that the criminal who does not consider the law (who will get a gun)…
    Okay, this is where I say, “go back and read the whole post, again if you actually read through the whole thing the first time, because you obviously didn’t catch any of this. Pretty much everything on my list that is designed to separate law-abiding people and criminals would be virtually transparent and unobtrusive to legal gun owners, while they would raise humongous roadblocks for criminals. Admit it: you don’t frickin’ care about whether criminals get guns or how hard it is for them, you just want to own guns without having to perform any of the responsibilities pursuant to that right.

    The one thing I propose that would slow down law-abiding citizens is the licensing, and (a) it is no more obtrusive than car licensing, which I’ve bet you’ve done and never complained about, and (b) that is not to keep criminals from getting guns, it is to ensure that gun owners are properly trained. Hell, have them take the NRA training course–this is not about blocking people from arming themselves, it’s about my right to be safe from irresponsible dumbasses who think that gun training and safety are unnecessary.

    …can walk into MY house and take what he/she wants, rape my children and my wife then shoot, kill and maim all.
    Yeah, right, that’s the aim of gun control: to disarm law-abiding citizens so well-armed criminals can enter your home and rape and kill and pillage.

    Please. If all you’re going to do is spout mindless, straw-man arguments, don’t expect anything but contempt and derision.

    I am not the sheep, I will be the shepherd if needed. If you don’t like our country GET OUT NOW!So you think everything is perfect about our country? Nothing wrong at all? No complaints about how things operate, like the Supreme Court decisions about the Second Amendment over the past century and more? Oh, you do have a problem with stuff like that? Well, you have presented the perfect solution: If you don’t like our country GET OUT NOW! See how logical that argument is?If you believe more laws will make us better, SLAP yourself!
    Actually, I am proposing to do away with the 20,000 gun control laws which the NRA itself created, and to replace them with one, single, comprehensive federal law as outlined above. This would actually END any gun bans anywhere in the country. Did you not catch that obvious point, or can’t you read?

    If we DONT stand up and fight for what is our privilege we will lose them all… The Democratic Society must endure without Totalitarian rules…
    Funny that gun nuts like yourself become hyperactively aggressive and insanely paranoid at the slightest hit of gun control… but you have no problem with the government doing warrantless wiretaps, revoking habeas corpus, and general emasculating the Bill of Rights. I certainly have seen no protest from pro-gun crowds on these points–none, zip, zero. You tend to be conservatives, Republicans who approve of these travesties. For you, the Bill of Rights contains only one amendment, and the rest you don’t give a crap about. Shows what kind of “patriots” most of the gun crowd are, and exactly how much of a lie the whole “freedom and liberty” claim is. You just want to have your guns without any restrictions; when real threats to our freedom come along, you vote the totalitarian tyrant who is robbing you of all your other freedoms back into office, and cheer on the dismantling of our liberties like ignorant yahoos.

    Of course, if I am wrong and you can point me to the various forums where you decried the non-gun threats to our liberties, go ahead and provide links; I’d love to read them. But I’m pretty sure I won’t have to bother. Aside from the most likely chance that you are a drive-by commenter, I strongly doubt that you disapprove of the dismantling of our real liberties, much less have posted anywhere about them.

  15. Doktaire
    April 18th, 2007 at 04:02 | #15

    With all the recent events, one important fact has been overlooked. The 2n amendment only applies to US citizens. How do the vendors at Gun Shows ensure that they are selling guns only to US citizens. It seems to be that at a miniumum, there should be a check of citizenship before you can buy a gun?

  16. Luis
    April 18th, 2007 at 04:22 | #16

    Umm… not sure what you mean there–that only the 2nd doesn’t apply to non-citizens, or that all the rights don’t? If the latter, then you may be right, but I’m not sure about that one. Non-citizens in America do not have free speech, or protection from unreasonable search and seizure? We can apply cruel and unusual punishments to them? No due process? That doesn’t sound right.

    Okay, I just Googled it. It would appear that you’re wrong on that one: non-citizens, even illegal immigrants, enjoy constitutional rights, with certain exceptions. For example, they can’t vote–but then again, the constitution states clearly, in all the amendments granting voting rights (non-whites, women, over 18), the word “citizen” is specified.

    Where it just says “the people” or restricts “the Congress” or “the state,” it applies to all people, not just citizens.

    One exception/loophole: the ability to deport non-citizens on whim. It is legal, for example, to deport a non-citizen because they said something the government didn’t like. So they have the freedom to speak, but they have no protection against deportation. So while they have the same rights and liberties granted to everyone save for voting, that freedom is limited by the government’s free hand to deport them for whatever reason.

    Now, if we take the 2nd as read by the Supreme Court, it applies only to the National Guard. Can non-citizens be in the NG? Not sure on that one. If you read it as gun advocates do, then there’s variation–what constitutes a militia, all citizens, or all people?

    But in my reading, the general right does not exist in the 2nd, it exists in the 9th.

    In any case, if there is a general personal right to keep and bear arms, then non-citizens also have that right. How about that!

  17. Tim Kane
    April 18th, 2007 at 13:17 | #17

    It’s common sense – people who own guns are far more likely to see someone they love shot, killed, maimed or wounded than some evil villian lurking somewhere out there in the weeds or some game that they need to kill in order to eat to survive. The only excepting I can logically see is for people living in remote or rural areas.

    I’ve heard and read lots of stories about people being killed or accidently wounded by a gun in the house – and while I am sure it has happened, I have never ever read a story about a villian being gunned down by a happy citizen soldier that happen to be prudently carrying a gun just in case for the occasion.

    The utility of owning guns is a manufactured myth, manufactured by the same people who manufacture the guns: see this – they aren’t buying, they are selling and you are the one that is buying it, and while at it, burying your child after an accident.

    America is the only society on earth that finds possession of Guns an adament and logical legal necessity. Yesterday, even the vastly conservative Prime Minister of Australia railed on America for its gun culture.

    We are the only major society that insist on Guns, just as we are the only major society that insist on not making affordable health insurance available to all, just as we are the only society that pampers and comforts the rich while working class people have to work two or three jobs and still have no health insurance.

    Desperate people do desperate things. The harshness of life in America for poor people makes crime all the more likely to happen. I could go on and I will with just one more: we are the industrial society with the most crime and the most violence. No one comes close.

    In a world of 6 billion people and 600 million guns, we own 200 million, more than the number of adults in America. Since most American’s don’t own guns, most of those guns are owned by a very few number of people.

    Whatever the rhetoric, the facts speak for themselves. America is an absurd society that likes to shoot itself in the foot, so to speak, to spite itself. Guns are just one aspect of this.

    By my thinking, only the people insane enough to want to own a gun are the ones that should be restricted from having it. Except for people living in rural areas, owning a gun is insane. And if you are worried about someone invading your house and raping you and your loved ones, well that’s a form of insanity called paranoia. Its an intrinsic part of the Fear and Smear culture of conservatives this day.

    If you are worried about someone breaking and entering your home, buy a good lock for your doors and use it – and/or get yourself a good watch dog. You’ll get better results than if you owned a gun and you won’t have to worry about someone you know or love accidently getting shot. By the time you need to use a gun to protect yourself, it’s already too late.

    So own a gun, if you must, but do all of us a favor and use it on yourself while you are at it, before the gun gets used on someone else by accident or on purpose. Its a case of an insane person choosing to inflict someone else with their insanity rather than cure themselves.

  18. andy
    April 18th, 2007 at 13:36 | #18

    Here we go again, with those who are willing to put their lives in other’s care. All I can say is this: If I ever found myself under a desk, facing a raving murderer the only two things I pray to God for is: 1. a gun and 2. the courage not to flinch.

  19. Tim Kane
    April 18th, 2007 at 16:56 | #19

    Andy:

    By the time you are hiding under a desk from a murder, it is too late.

    The problem with manic conservatives is they inflame themselves with fear. They see the odds of remote catastrophy, and ignore the odd and focus on the catastrophy. I believe that’s similar to the fear of flying. Catastrophy is enormous, but statistically, almost never happens. That’s why “fear and smear” conservatives is an apt description of today’s right wing.

    The odds of being in that situation you describe are so much lower than the odds of you accidentally shooting yourself or someone you love or care about being shot by the very gun you bought to protect yourself over the life of the ownership of that gun makes your point preposterous.

  20. Luis
    April 18th, 2007 at 17:21 | #20

    “If only someone there were armed, they could have fought back.” “If only concealed weapon permits were commonplace, mass killers would think twice before going on a shooting spree.” “If everyone were armed, stuff like this wouldn’t happen.”

    I’ve seen this argument many times before, and it always fails the test of considered analysis. While it is a nice fantasy to imagine yourself being the hero who shoots back and kills the bad guy, having many or most people walk around armed all the time would not really be feasible, nor would it really prevent stuff like this from happening.

    First of all, we’re talking about a college campus filled with young people. Think about those people, ones who often drink to excess, pull asinine pranks, and do all sorts of insanely stupid crap. These are people with limited judgment and the belief that they are immune from death. Now imagine them all walking around all the time armed. Trust me, if college students were armed more, you’d just have more people getting killed over longer periods of time. Not a smart move.

    Second, the whole idea of someone armed shooting back is not as simplistic as it sounds. Jack Bauer is fantasy, not your likely potential state. While a trained shooter who does not panic could offer resistance, it is not too likely that random armed people would be in this state in a situation like the one at Virginia Tech.

    But the most damaging argument against the well-armed populace is that it would simply change the assumptions and methods of the shooter. For example, someone once said that if the people in Texas were all issued concealed weapons permits and it was common for citizens to carry guns, the massacre at the Luby’s restaurant in Texas would not have happened. But this is not true. A mass murderer may be insane, but is usually not stupid. All the killer would have to do is walk into the killing zone, wait for an innocent to walk by, and then take them and hold them hostage at gunpoint, demanding that everyone else strip or become prone–and then they kill everybody.

    In other words, change things to make people better-armed, and all that will change is that criminals and murderers will change tactics to adapt. In fact, fearing a better-armed populace, more criminals might even adapt a shoot-first strategy, rather than just holding people up and leaving them alive.

    In the meantime, more people with guns will mean more people using guns, since they are available. More people shooting each other in the heat of the moment. More people injured or killed in gun-related accidents. More people killed in error by people who think of themselves as Hollywood-style heroes. Police go through rigorous training so they can use their guns responsibly, and yet they still kill innocents from time to time. Imagine 100 times more people, completely untrained, walking around armed.

    Shootings like we have seen at Virginia Tech are so rare, so few and far between, that arming people more would not be worth it in the least; far more people would be killed than would be saved.

    Not a great idea.

  21. just me
    April 20th, 2007 at 15:18 | #21

    do you honestly think gun cuntrol will limit a criminals ability to get a gun? Have drug laws kept users from getting drugs? Have drunk driving laws kept people from driving drunk? Laws only have an effect on those who abide by them, and law abiding citizens aren’t the ones who should have their rights restricted. Make stiffer penalties for those who use a gun in a crime, or even those who hvae a gun in thier posession when commiting a crime. Deal drugs with a gun in you belt, wether you brandish it or not, 10 years minimum on top of regular sentence, rob a convience store with a gun on your person wether the clerk sees it or not, 10 years min on top of regular sentence. Something like this would make more sense to me.

    What we don’t hear alot about on the news is law abiding gun carrying people who use their guns to stop crime. It happens on a daily basis. Check the the section “The Armed Citizen” in the NRA magazine. Theres a multitude of people who stop a home invasion or save themselves from getting attacked through use of a firearm. How about the stories of students who stopped or prevented a school shooting by retrieving there deer rifle from their vehicle and stopping the would be attacker.

    basically what i want to say here is, look at both sides of the story, then make up your mind. Don’t take a position because of what someone else tells you. Guns are not bad, I personally own 6, my dad has probably double that many, and neither of us would ever use them to harm someone UNLESS us or our family were in danger, or if we witnessed someone else who was in mortal danger. Defending your family, friends, or neighbors by any means neccessary is the way it should be. Maybe if we all did more of this, the criminals wouldn’t be able to act out because they wouldn’t just have to run from the cops, they’d have to hide from every one of us(not advocating vigilante justice, but I think you get my drift).

  22. Luis
    April 21st, 2007 at 03:35 | #22

    do you honestly think gun cuntrol will limit a criminals ability to get a gun? Have drug laws kept users from getting drugs? Have drunk driving laws kept people from driving drunk? Laws only have an effect on those who abide by them, and law abiding citizens aren’t the ones who should have their rights restricted.
    So, you are suggesting that we should not have laws against drugs and drunk driving? Interesting. Otherwise, your argument falls apart. You are also again showing that you did not really read the post. I said, very clearly, at the conclusion:
    One more argument from the gun advocacy side remains: gun control will never stop crime. Well, duh. Of course it won’t. Nothing ever will. But effective gun control will make it far more difficult for criminals to obtain and use firearms. Not impossible, but far more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. More criminals will be deterred, stopped, and arrested.
    The short of it is, no laws against anything ever completely stop something; it is a straw-man argument to say that gun control is useless because people can still get guns. Maybe you are arguing against some other person who is suggesting we ban all guns and that will completely stop gun crime? No? Then you have yourself a straw man.

    I am pretty sure that most gun advocates would also be strong law-and-order types, and yet somehow they go all weak at the knees when it comes to laws about guns. Certainly, you want to prevent criminals from getting guns, right? Then if gun control can allow you to have your guns and can make it harder for criminals to get them, what really is your argument?

    Make stiffer penalties for those who use a gun in a crime…
    Sure, no problem. In fact, most states already do that. But your problem here is that you seem to think that gun control is some kind of punishment before the fact, and that’s your error. Do you see car licensing and registration as punishment before driving a car? That’s prior restraint as well.
    What we don’t hear alot about on the news is law abiding gun carrying people who use their guns to stop crime.
    Of course we do. But just as we don’t hear about individual acts of gun crime unless they stand out, neither do we hear about individual acts of people stopping criminals unless they stand out, nor do we hear about people accidentally shooting each other unless they stand out. VA Tech stood out because 32 people were killed. If someone used a gun to save the lives of 32 people, you can bet you’d hear it on the news. This is just another case of why-don’t-I-see-the-news-I-want-to-see, and not a case of certain kinds of news being blocked by liberal censors.

    It happens on a daily basis. Check the the section “The Armed Citizen” in the NRA magazine.
    In a population of 300 million, I would be astounded if you couldn’t find at least one case every day of someone using a gun in self-defense. Of course, for every one of those stories, I bet that you could find 50-100 stories about people getting killed or wounded by guns. Even just accidental gun injuries outnumbers the repel-the-criminal number, I’d bet.

    Another note: as I don’t have the NRA magazine handy, I went to their web site, and found a page titled “Armed Citizens
    and Crime Control.” It centered on the study done by Kleck–a study that has long been debunked as having completely unreliable data gathering methodology (for example, it had no way to filter out people who reported incorrectly or simply thought they were scaring away an armed intruder when it was really a raccoon, etc.).

    Not to mention that you are still arguing against me as if I am proposing a gun ban. Why is that? Why cannot you read what is so clearly stated? I have made it utterly clear that I see an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that whatever gun control we have must be designed so as not to infringe on that right of law-abiding citizens?

    What more clear sign is there of someone with a closed mind than when you say something clearly and the other person hears something completely different?

    basically what i want to say here is, look at both sides of the story, then make up your mind.
    This dictum is rather ironic: that’s exactly what I have done. When I started out debating gun control, I was firmly for total gun bans, and felt there was no individual right; as you can see, I have changed, and it was because I listened to my opponents’ arguments, looked up the facts, and came to the conclusion I did.

    You, on the other hand, didn’t even read my whole writing before you start lecturing me!

    Tell me, which of us isn’t looking at both sides?

  23. Sage
    April 21st, 2007 at 13:35 | #23

    I’m sorry, but on this issue you play it much too safe and much too centrist for me. Oh, you position it as a left-right issue, with your viewpoint firmly on the left, continually poking holes in the “pro-gun” and “right-wing” positions and arguments. And to affirm this, pro-gun right-wingers are venting their spleens in the comments secion. So why aren’t you also arguing against the other “extreme”? In other words, it’s clear you’re not going to be an advocate for a gun ban (or at least a severe restriction). So why are you arguing against one side of the spectrum, but not the other? Banning weapons is an obvious, clear-cut solution. Of course it’s not a complete solution. Of course there are other countries with guns and a low murder rate, because they also do not have the same social ills America has. So, until America confronts and solves these problems that result in far more gun deaths per capita than many other gun-ownership countries, we should just ban guns as a temporary solution. If that reduces murders and self-inflicted fatalities even by a modest amount, that would be a worthy thing. So, to answer my question, the reason why so few in the mainstream left support this position yet at the same time decline to dispute it, is because there is no cogent, credible argument to be made against it.

    That pro-gun right-wingers would reject and dispute this is expected, and completely understandable. They have a personal stake in this issue. Okay. What I can’t understand, what I find almost astonishing, is how some on the LEFT play it safe on this issue. The idea of banning guns is met with guarded skepticism, or simply not addressed at all. Oh yeah, there are reasons. The right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution. Or if not, then at least the right to not have your guns taken away is guaranteed in the Consitution. Fine, maybe for all practical purposes, that’s a conversation-stopper. Maybe. But why should discussion stop there? Even if it’s just an academic excersize, why not simply entertain the idea of a gun ban? Because it’s a firmly established mindset. Guns already exist. Therefore, their existance must be accepted and taken for granted. It fulfills our cultural need, and we can’t deprive those hunters, now can we? No matter how lethal guns are, the huge corporations who make these devices are so dominant in our culture and in our economy, that we can’t even bring ourselves to advance a solution – even just as a matter of speculation – more radical than a band-aid called “gun control”. And for me, this is the most troubling thing about the ongoing discourse, both here and in the media, about the issue of gun ownership. Which is why reading blog entries like this one leaves me very disconcerted.

    On the other hand, kudos for your entry called “Perspective”, about how the deaths of innocents in Iraq should be seen as no less tragic as the deaths of the Virginia Tech victims. At least I should end on a positive note.

  24. Boston T. Party
    April 23rd, 2007 at 06:42 | #24

    The notion that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t convey an individual right faces many problems, and these are two of the more obvious:

    1) If it does not convey an individual right, then you must believe that the Founding Fathers constructed an entire amendment to protect the MILITARY’S RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS.

    2) All of the other amendments are provisions meant to protect the people as individuals. You want us to believe that the 1st and 4th amendments apply to individuals, but in this one case, the wording is to guard a right of the state.

  25. Luis
    April 23rd, 2007 at 12:16 | #25

    Sage:

    First, let me apologize for the lateness of this reply. I have been on vacation in the countryside, and while I had Internet access, I did not have the time to give this comment the due consideration for a reply that I wanted to. I’m back now, so: And to affirm this, pro-gun right-wingers are venting their spleens in the comments secion. So why aren’t you also arguing against the other “extreme”?If the other extreme shows up and vents their spleens, I’ll argue against them. The reason to speak to the right-wing extreme is because they are a hundred times more vociferous than the far left on this issue–as exemplified by the responses seen in this blog. If Rosie O’Donnell were to show up and say that we need “another 20,000 gun laws” (she actually said that) and that we need to ban guns, I’d argue against that extreme too–and it would be a heartfelt argument, because I started out there, and was convinced to move to where I am. While I have not changed my view on the Second Amendment, I have learned of the Ninth Amendment and prior-standing gun rights that create the individual right to keep and bear arms. I have become convinced that from where we stand, with 200 million guns and a majority desiring the right to have them, many of them with such fierce conviction, that a gun ban, even if it were not unconstitutional, would not be workable. So I adapt and adopt, but hang on to my core principles that there must be measures for public safety.Banning weapons is an obvious, clear-cut solution.Ah! Okay, so here you are. Vent away!Of course it’s not a complete solution.Agreed; those who use that the “it’s not a complete solution” as an argument are using straw men. Nothing is a complete solution when it comes to crime. It’s always a matter of trade-offs.Of course there are other countries with guns and a low murder rate, because they also do not have the same social ills America has. So, until America confronts and solves these problems that result in far more gun deaths per capita than many other gun-ownership countries, we should just ban guns as a temporary solution. If that reduces murders and self-inflicted fatalities even by a modest amount, that would be a worthy thing.Okay, let’s for the moment set aside the fact that the Ninth Amendment provides for the individual right, or that we would be able to amend the Constitution to allow for a total, temporary gun ban. What would the logistics be like? There are an estimated 200 million guns out there. How to collect them? Even if there were registration lists that then tracked every subsequent sale or gift, it would be an incredibly monumental task to account for them all, and the fact is that there are not such lists–which means that you would effectively have to search every home in America with a fine-toothed comb, and you’d still probably miss half of them if not more. And then you would also have to deal with people who take the “cold, dead hands” thing dead seriously. That would be fun, wouldn’t it? A mini-Waco every five minutes. If you instead went for a voluntary approach, then only the people who could be trusted with guns would hand them is–i.e., the responsible ones. The ones that need to have them taken away are the irresponsible ones, and they would not volunteer to give up the guns.

    When it comes down to it, there simply isn’t any practical way to enforce a gun ban.So, to answer my question, the reason why so few in the mainstream left support this position yet at the same time decline to dispute it, is because there is no cogent, credible argument to be made against it.I think I have just shown that there are two quite cogent arguments: one of legality and one of logistics, and that’s assuming there is a majority consensus, which there is not. Those who favor a gun ban, even a temporary one, are in the minority on this issue.On the other hand, kudos for your entry called “Perspective”, about how the deaths of innocents in Iraq should be seen as no less tragic as the deaths of the Virginia Tech victims. At least I should end on a positive note.Thanks. And I appreciate your bringing out the other end of this issue; trust me, I know where you’re coming from–it’s precisely where I came from. All I can tell you is that I got to where I am by stubbornly arguing the same argument that you are making, and by time and time again going up against vociferous opponents. Maybe 95% of them were monolithic NRA zombies who just spout the party line, would never change their minds in a million years, don’t care about facts, and used the worst arguing ethics you’ve ever seen. But a few of the remainder were intelligent, honest people who challenged what I said with fact, reason, and argument; I did not agree with everything they felt, but where they found flaw in my argument that would not stand up to the defenses I put up, I had to yield and reconsider. I do not find myself doing that often (maybe even sometimes when I should), but I like to think I do it when it is necessary as that it a principle of open-mindedness and reason.

    I could still be wrong. Maybe there’s a defense I didn’t think of. So please, if you see something in my argument that you think is wrong and that you can chip away at it with logic and fact, please do. Know that I am willing to change.

  26. Luis
    April 23rd, 2007 at 12:52 | #26

    Boston:1) If it does not convey an individual right, then you must believe that the Founding Fathers constructed an entire amendment to protect the MILITARY’S RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS.Not exactly, but in principle, yes. It was not the “military” as you think of it today. Things were different back then–the “people” (i.e., able-bodied men) were the “military”–the militia, that is. There was no federal army, and for most in the militia, it was not a full-time job. There was no mass organization that issued firearms, instead the militias depended upon private ownership of guns. Maybe it bled into an assumed individual right to keep and bear arms for less than militia purposes, but that was not in the least addressed in the Second Amendment. Case in point: almost all drafts of the Second Amendment contained a clause for conscientious objectors: people who refused to bear arms. If the amendment were addressing an individual right, then why the hell would they even consider adding a clause for people who refused to bear arms? If it’s a right, that means that a person has the ability to choose, which means that such a clause would be meaningless, and it never even would have been considered.

    The reason this was put into the BoR is because the founders wanted to protect the people against the tyranny of a central government with a strong, permanent military. That’s the spirit of the Second Amendment, not hunting or home defense. And in that essence, we’ve violated the Second Amendment–but out of necessity, because that’s what we need as a nation in order to survive in the modern world. We can no longer go to war simply with people grabbing their rifles off the mantelpiece and running out to line up with the local militia. The country has evolved beyond the need for the Second Amendment as it was originally intended, just as we have evolved beyond the Third Amendment, which protects us from the government quartering soldiers in our homes. Or do you think the Third Amendment still applies today?2) All of the other amendments are provisions meant to protect the people as individuals. You want us to believe that the 1st and 4th amendments apply to individuals, but in this one case, the wording is to guard a right of the state.Neither the first not the fourth have the limiting first clause that the Second Amendment has: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State….” That’s what put the amendment in the context of the military. Ignore it, wish it away all you want, it’s still there.

    Here’s what I don’t get: why do gun advocates so stubbornly cling to the Second Amendment when (a) the Ninth Amendment serves far better to establish the right, and (b) the Second Amendment has such weaknesses, not the least of which is that the Supreme Court has ruled for about a century now that it does not establish an individual right?

  27. Luis
    April 23rd, 2007 at 12:57 | #27

    Actually, I just thought of a reason why the thinking gun advocates don’t want to go with the Ninth Amendment: because then they would have to recognize the Ninth Amendment. And that would mean disaster for the strict constructionists, and they would have to recognize things like right to privacy, which they apparently do not want to do. So I guess they have no recourse except to stick with the flawed Second Amendment.

  28. Sage
    April 24th, 2007 at 07:45 | #28

    All this tells me is how powerful America’s obsession with guns is. I mean, you really can’t imagine living in a world without guns? Sadly, it’s proof of how deeply this has gotten into our psyches.

    I said there is no rational reason why we can’t have a total ban on firearms, and even after reading your reply, I maintain this. Maybe it comes across as a shallow cliche, maybe I come across as a fool for saying this (and I always get a defensive vibe from others when I have this conversation), but it’s no different from any other revolutionary proposal which goes against a country’s cultural standards, like abolishing slavery. But abolishing slavery was a common-sense proposal, and it was possible to carry it out. You refer to drawbacks, like not every gun owner wanting to return their weapons, and that’s typical of any cultural revolution. But honestly, as long we have enough time, care, control and preserverence to devote to the problem, it doesn’t sound like solving it will be so difficult. All we have to do is dedicate less time on being the policemen of the world, and focus on more internal matters. Americans are lucky. The country is still very young. Comparatively speaking, it hasn’t had enough time to go through such broad, sweeping social changes. So, no wonder this modest suggestion is terrifying to so many. Not to sound condescending, but ask some Europeans. Such a proposal can be successful.

  29. Anonymous
    April 24th, 2007 at 15:28 | #29

    Luis,

    You put it well when you say that the people “were the army.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. The ability of the people’s army to resist tyranny is the central point of the 2nd Amendment. This army still exists, it simply no longer trains on the commons in your average town. The federal government’s “army” does not take the place of the people’s army, inasmuch as it is an extension of the government itself. You should look at the wording in the Dred Scott case to see how the 2nd amendment was interpreted in the 19th century. The directly stated fear in that opinion is that if black people are given the rights of ordinary citizens then of necessity they will have the right to bear arms. It is assumed in that decision that every individual American citizen has the right to bear arms as he sees fit.
    A person wishing to seek the original intent of the 2nd amendment must simply consult the state constitutions, which were written around the same time and which often contain more direct language. For instance, read the constitution of Connecticut: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” And then there is Michigan, “Every person has a right to bear arms for the defence of himself and the State.” And here is Massachusetts, if you really want to get at the issue as to whether they were referring to an “army:” “The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.” Here is Rhode Island, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The majority of direct quotes of the MAIN CLAUSE in the 2nd amendment in state constitutions bears a direct witness to this being the purpose of that amendment. For further information, you should read Blackstone’s Laws, a popular book on legal theory read by the Founding Fathers. It contains numerous discussions on the threat of tyranny to unarmed people, and explicitly refers to the right of individuals. And lest you think those were just men of “long ago,” Laurence Tribe of Harvard University, considered one of the foremost legal scholars on the Constitution of modern times, who is NO right-winger, has conceded that the 2nd amendment conveys an individual right.

  30. Anonymous
    April 26th, 2007 at 03:10 | #30

    I think there are a lot of you younger people who have never had the opportunity to enjoy a day at the range with your fathers or grandfathers teaching you how to shoot responsibly and still just enjoy the day shooting paper targets, and that is a real pity. I have collected and shot guns of every description starting at age 10 with a Civil War Springfield musket which I really wish I had kept, but my dad, a WW2 veteran of Patton’s army guided every phase of my development as a shooter, and did correct me when I was careless or negligent. I work in a Forensic Ballistics Lab where I see the worst things that humans do to each other with guns five days a week, but I can tell you that it is the evil intent in some peoples hearts that will lead to murder whether it with a gun or a sharpened stick! A gun is very much like a hammer or a hatchet or any other tool, it has no conscience or will of its own, and so far I have never seen a brain in one of these guns, or felt any malevolent force from one. Being very much an amature historian and having read widely on the history of war from the ancient Greeks and Persians to the war in Iraq today I can tell you that freedom is not in the nature of human kind and the leaders of the past have more in common with Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler than George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. That is why the right to own guns is the first freedom which makes all others possible, it is our birthright to change our government if it falls into the hands of evil men! I really question why certain political parties seem so eager to have us unarmed and helpless before them, what is it they intend that they know free people will not agree with? I also know that as horrible as certain shooting spree crimes have been that if there had been just one good man with a concealed carry permit and a pistol present things might have turned out far differently! Imagine flight 93 or any of the other flights that day if one good man had been present with the tool to change destiny!

  31. Austin K
    April 27th, 2007 at 14:05 | #31

    Why is gun control dangerous? ONLY THE LAWBIDING CITIZENS WILL SURRENDER THEIR GUNS. What does that leave? Criminals armed and dangerous. Crime will sky rocket. Look at it from this perspective. Marijuanna is is illegal. And yet 12-18 year olds get hold of it everyday in public schools and beyond. He are the options. Let citizens carry weapons to defend themselves against criminals who will carry guns reguardless of the law. Or Take the guns from THE LAWBIDING citizens and leave the criminals armed. Gun control went into effect in the UK. Gun related murder sky rocketed, well above our numbers of murder here in the US.

    -Think

  32. Luis
    April 27th, 2007 at 16:42 | #32

    How many times must I remind people to read the entry before responding? Austin, not only did you not read what I wrote, but you display an utter lack of comprehension of the difference between gun control and a gun ban.

    What is it with you gun advocacy people?

    If such reactions don’t exhibit classic “knee-jerk” responses, then I don’t know what does.

  33. Austin K
    April 28th, 2007 at 14:02 | #33

    I was responding to multiple other posts

  34. Luis
    April 28th, 2007 at 14:10 | #34

    Austin: Nevertheless, you say “gun control” when you clearly mean a “gun ban.” The two are very different.

    As for your claim about what happened in England, please give data, or link to a non-biased site which has the data. (Note: when you give a link in comments, do not include “http://“–just write the address starting with “www…” and I will complete the link in moderation. This is necessary for the spam filters. Thanks.)

  35. Kristofer
    April 29th, 2007 at 02:11 | #35

    I would just like to say that I enjoyed reading your blog entry Luis and that it made a lot of sense to me. I’ve always found that the most annoying part of arguing gun control is that most pro-gun people seems to find it impossible to tell the difference between stricter control and a complete ban. I think that difference comes out very clear in your writing above.

  36. Luis
    April 29th, 2007 at 05:38 | #36

    Thank you, Kristofer, I really do appreciate that. Sometimes it’s like talking into the wind….

  37. gh33
    May 21st, 2007 at 19:41 | #37

    Luis, could you respond to the anonymous comments made on the 24th? I respect both of your postitions and think it would be interesting to hear your response.

  38. luf36
    May 21st, 2007 at 19:50 | #38

    Luis:

    I understand the difference between control and a ban. I think the reactions you are getting are more from what stricter controls foreshadow, rather than the controls themselves. There are already many gun controls in place, and adding more means to some people that we are getting closer to an outright ban. Maybe if you made it clear that you and others like you see gun control as a solution, not a step, you would get a more level-headed response from the right.

  39. Luis
    May 21st, 2007 at 20:37 | #39

    gh33: I didn’t respond to that comment because I didn’t feel it was important enough to do so. By this time, we’re quibbling over academic details–whether the right is guaranteed by the 2nd or the 9th. Does it matter in the context we’re talking about? Is it that hard for conservatives to recognize the 9th because that would mean recognizing other long-standing rights and liberties that conservatives don’t want recognized?

    In short, anonymous’ comments don’t add up. S/he makes the point that the Second Amendment’s original intent can be discerned by seeing what gun rights some states made clear in their own constitutions. Fine–that applies to gun rights, and that ties into the 9th. But it does not tie into the 2nd, which was much more specific. The 2nd may have been written under the assumption that personal protection via arms was an individual right (which would be covered by the 9th amendment), but that’s not what it says. Just because someone who is not a conservative concedes the argument, that does not make it correct. The intent of the 2nd is made clear by its own evolution, not by state constitutions where they address the same general topic. And the evolution of the 9th centered on the militia.

    As for Dred Scott, it is questionable to bring such a reprehensibly racist decision, one that was overturned by subsequent constitutional amendments, to the defense of the Second Amendment, especially when the decision does not even mention the Second Amendment–rather it mentions rights to keep and carry arms, which could be considered a right via the 9th. After all, other rights not specifically enumerated in the constitution or bill of rights, such as the right to interstate travel, are covered in the decision. I would accept this as support for the 9th, but not necessarily the 2nd, unless it mentioned the right to serve in a militia.

    The “Anonymous” post never clarifies its reference to militia or army, instead segueing into the Dred Scott case. I’m not sure what point was being made by that reference.

    As a final note, I would disagree with the general, blanket statement that the Second Amendment (or even the 9th) affirms “every individual American citizen has the right to bear arms as he sees fit” (italics mine). That is, if I understand the statement correctly, inasmuch as it seems to suggest that the right to keep and bear arms has no restrictions or limitations, an issue I have discussed here and elsewhere. No right is an unlimited one, not that I can think of–every right, taken to extremes, will sooner or later infringe on the rights of others. Gun rights are no different.

  40. Luis
    May 21st, 2007 at 20:48 | #40

    luf36:I understand the difference between control and a ban. I think the reactions you are getting are more from what stricter controls foreshadow, rather than the controls themselves.This is the “slippery slope” fallacy, but one I have addressed. I believe that I clearly made the point myself that many gun owners would embrace gun controls, but because the 2nd is not interpreted by the SC as an individual right, they see gun bans as possible eventual outcomes of reasonable gun controls. This is what the NRA has so successfully played on, and is why I proposed the passage of a new amendment which “specifies gun ownership rights, but also notes the necessity of limited gun control.” That should be unnecessary–the 9th should be enough of a guarantee–but once people are assured that the constitution will not allow a gun ban, then opposition to gun control will ease significantly.There are already many gun controls in place, and adding more means to some people that we are getting closer to an outright ban.Please read what I wrote more carefully. I did not propose the gun control laws I mentioned in addition to existing gun laws, I specifically proposed that “the ’20,000 laws’ should all be repealed, and one comprehensive, nation-wide gun control act with the details I have given should be enacted.” And the outline I gave would assure law-abiding citizens easy access to guns. If you disagree, please specify which one would keep you from getting a gun and we’ll discuss it.Maybe if you made it clear that you and others like you see gun control as a solution, not a step, you would get a more level-headed response from the right.Um… hate to tell you this, but that’s exactly what I did. You gotta read thoroughly, dude.

  41. Luis
    May 21st, 2007 at 20:56 | #41

    Addendum: I think that the point I made at the end of the last comment is key. The problem is not that gun control advocates are failing to espouse a reasonable proposition, but rather that gun rights advocates don’t seem to listen; they hear the words “gun control,” and then don’t seem to hear much else. More than on any other topic on this blog, I find so many people opposing an idea that was not espoused, so many people saying I should do what I actually did, so many people who commented after reading just the first few paragraphs and nothing more, so many people who, no matter how many times it is reiterated, seem not to understand any statement on the issue that does not simply say “people have the right to keep and bear arms without any restriction whatsoever.” It’s rather fascinating, to be honest. I think a Psych major could write a pretty good doctoral thesis on the phenomenon.

  42. luf36
    May 21st, 2007 at 21:09 | #42

    Luis:

    OH, so you want people to read the entire thing before they reply?:) Makes sense since I went back and read exactly what I was looking for.

  43. Luis
    May 21st, 2007 at 21:11 | #43

    Usually that helps.

  44. luf36
    May 21st, 2007 at 21:20 | #44

    What I meant by the addition of gun controls was not the addition of more laws, but the increasing difficulty to buy a firearm. From what I read, your proposals would make it more difficult to buy firearms than it is now(unless I misread). All Im saying is that people would see this as another step towards a ban, but if your amendment acknowledging the right of an individual to own a firearm was passed before or at the same time, you might just have a winner.

  45. Luis
    May 21st, 2007 at 21:29 | #45

    Depends on where you are, doesn’t it? Some states/locales have virtually no gun control whatsoever, which will make it more difficult. Some areas have exceedingly strict gun control (some cities, I believe, do have gun bans), and so the controls I outlined would make it infinitely easier.

    The biggest hurdle I put up was the training, licensing, and registration. But any responsible gun owner would agree that training really should be done (including, if I am not mistaken, the NRA itself), and licensing and registration are no more difficult than with your car. A hassle, perhaps, but not so much of one that it keeps anyone from getting the car, or in my proposal, a gun. Actually, it should be an easier process–licenses for gun use would not have to be renewed nearly as often as for cars. Training would be easier as well, if I’m not mistaken.

    Problem is, the solutions I’m suggesting (like the ones I have with immigration reform) are pragmatic, not political–which means we’ll almost certainly never see them enacted. Too bad.

  46. Richard
    August 1st, 2007 at 07:00 | #46

    I agree with this, it makes perfect sense. But the problem is that no matter what, the right wing goes kicking and screaming believing everything they don’t like is unconstitutional and just an attempt to take away their rights, although they have no regards for our rights. If such an amendment were passed that outlines the specific need for limited gun control, it would be considered unconstitutional. I have never understood the mentality that trying to keep guns away from criminals is an attempt to take guns away from law abiding citizens.
    There is a hick town Kennessaw in Georgia north of Atlanta that, several years ago, passed a law that actually required all residents to have a gun. I don’t see anywhere in the Constitution that says we have an obligation to have a gun.
    I have been accused by conservatives that my failure to have a gun is somehow a violation of their rights, and an attempt to take away their guns.
    One state, I believe Maryland, passed a law that would require test firing guns to produce a sample bullet that could be used for comparison to help identify guns used in the commission of crimes. Of course, the right wing screamed about that as being unconstitutional.
    They need to explain why crime prevention, as well as utilizing methods to identify criminals, is unconstitutional. This from the same people who say we can’t just sit around waiting to be attacked! So, pre-emptive war against a country that posed no threat to us was fine (instead of going after our attackers), but crime prevention is not. They must want criminals to have guns.

  47. Luis
    August 2nd, 2007 at 00:19 | #47

    Richard:There is a hick town Kennessaw in Georgia north of Atlanta that, several years ago, passed a law that actually required all residents to have a gun. I don’t see anywhere in the Constitution that says we have an obligation to have a gun.Interestingly enough, that would be the Second Amendment. When it was drafted, it was intended as more than just a right, but in fact a duty, evidenced by the early drafts having a “conscientious objector” clause allowing people not to keep and bear arms. The original intent off the 2nd is something that the gun advocates try to bury because it is not commensurate with what they want.

    Note, for example, that the amendment specifically notes a “well regulated Militia,” which gun advocates claim is meaningless, but which in fact referred to each “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.” They call it irrelevant not because it is (it is clearly not), but because right there in the middle of the Second Amendment, it limits both who has the right to keep and bear arms and what the arms are kept for–as well as requiring military duty in order to possess the right!

    And if anything turns off the hawkish, war-loving right wing, it’s the idea of they themselves serving in the military. That’s for other people, for the poor, the minorities… but not for people like them, like George Bush, and like so many Republicans who “have better things to do.” They’re not called “chickenhawks” for nothing.

    Instead of recognizing these inconvenient facts, they could turn to the Ninth Amendment, which would far more appropriately guarantee the personal right to keep and bear arms… except that if they recognized the 9th, they’d have to recognize other unwritten rights, like the right to privacy–and that right there is a deal-stopper. So instead they have their edited, abridged, history-blind fantasy version of the 2nd instead.

    But the point you make again and again is that the gun advocates scream about any gun control measure, no matter how reasonable, no matter how much it hinders criminals, no matter how invisible it would be to gun owners, would be an infringement of their rights, would be unconstitutional. Well, one could of course make the simple connection there and assume that these people are criminals… but however fun, that wouldn’t be fair (not that these people care about fairness), nor would it be truly logical (or about that), which would be unrespectful to ourselves.

    So, why do the gun people fight such measures?

    The main reason is that they fear any gun control measure as being the first step on the path to a gun ban.

    But, you might ask reasonably, can’t they see that such measures would not affect them at all but would put a huge dent in criminals’ ability to arm themselves?

    Here, a few different things are in play. These people feel fearful for their guns, not for their lives. Like so many people who use guns, they have discovered that they feel powerful with such a weapon. They foolishly do not fear well-armed criminals, because they feel like invincible bad-asses, like they can scare off criminals just by showing off their piece, or make their home inviolate by having a weapon in their dresser drawer. So they don’t care how much their protest enable and arm criminals.

    Nevertheless, they don’t want to feel like they’re enabling criminals, so like any addict, they embrace a convenient fiction to rationalize their behavior–in this case, the fiction that no amount of gun control, even a total gun ban, would hamper criminals even one bit.

    What it comes to in the end is that they have their beloved weapons, and they want to be able to possess them without restrictions of any kind, without having to observe any of the responsibilities that come with any right, and because they’re such badasses with their guns, they can handle any situation that comes down their path.

    This is the only explanation I can find which fits all the facts; take the gun advocates at their word, and there are huge gaps in their reasoning, huge flaws in their rationale.

  48. Rod
    August 11th, 2007 at 13:32 | #48

    I am curious as to why almost all demands for more “gun control, or gun bans” come from the left thinkers? I would put forth the idea that those leftists that support gun control also support government control in many areas of their lives. They like the idea of being dependent on a government (as long as it is one they agree with) much like a child feels the security of his mother. Or in this case, big brother. Over 200 years of gun freedom is brushed aside and never considered in their rush to dependency. People on both sides of this arugment readily overlook facts that don’t support their view.
    When the founding fathers wrote the term “people” that is exactly what they meant. Not the “peoples republic of china, nor the “state controlled National guard.” Why would anyone want to split hairs when it comes to freedom? Why would anyone think of ways to give up their freedom? I might remind you that the Constitution was written to protect the “people” from the government, not the government from the people.
    Now as far as the comment about few if any armed people ever saved themselves from a dictator. Have you ever heard of Rwanda? Where an oppressive government along with one of two factions murdered nearly a million people? And all the while the world, including the US, under the control of President Clinton, did NOTHING BUT WATCH THE MASSACRE. Enough said about putting your trust in “civilized countries.” It was the rebels that drove the killers away. I guess you could also call these rebels, the people, could you not? Or does that not fit your sanitized vertion of sensible gun laws?
    If you allow the government to decide who gets licensed, or what kind of training or whatever benchmarks they so desire to permit you to own a gun, they will eventually take them all away. Period. You believe that more than you believe anything, because it is the truth. If you want to act like a child and be “taken care of” the government will be there to grant your wish.
    Most of all I think that weakness and fear are the driving force for allowing more gun control or eventually gun banning. I assume that you are aware that the police cannot be everywhere all of the time. And that criminals try not to make a habit of commiting a crime under the watchful eye of the law. Perhaps you have also heard the rumors that the bad guys DON’T OBEY THE LAW!
    Luis, by reading what you have written I can only draw one conclution. That your life exeriences when it comes to a deserate life or death matter are only theory. Otherwise you would never have wasted your time debating on the side of such nonsense. I have been in a gunfight. I know what it’s like to smell the stench of death, to watch my life’s blood pour out on the ground. You may or may not believe what I have just said. That is not important. It’s only important that I know the truth. That is why I can write this with honest passion. Can you? Can you really?
    Rod

  49. Luis
    August 11th, 2007 at 17:42 | #49

    I am curious as to why almost all demands for more “gun control, or gun bans” come from the left thinkers? I would put forth the idea that those leftists that support gun control also support government control in many areas of their lives. They like the idea of being dependent on a government (as long as it is one they agree with) much like a child feels the security of his mother. Or in this case, big brother.Hmm… exactly what world do you live in? Not the real one, apparently.

    I find yours a curious observation, given that it is the “right thinkers” who so quickly surrender all their freedoms when frightened by the specter of terrorists, and so eagerly welcome a government that can read their mail, listen to their telephone calls, and have almost total police powers over them. I find it strange that you assume that the “left thinkers” want “big brother” when it is those on the left who have fought so ardently to keep government from obtaining such overwhelming power over the people, why you think the way you do when it is those on the left who fight to keep their freedoms or regain those stolen in this mockery of a presidency.

    After all of this, you think that the the left wants big brother simply because they see gun control as desirable? And please spare me the “gun ban” side of things–that’s a red herring worn down to a flat stinking fish. If right-wing fears about gun control were true, then we’d have a total gun ban by now.

    What the left wants is our freedoms, rights, and liberties preserved, and the role of government simply limited to preventing the excesses which do more harm than good. It is the right wing that wishes full government control over our lives–at least to the extent of the government forcing all other Americans to live the way the right wing thinks life should be lived. In essence, people should be free to do only those things that the right-wing believes is right, and everything else is banned and securely policed by the government.

    But in the face of fear, they are even willing to give up their own privacy, freedom, and liberties and let an omnipotent government work with virtually unlimited powers.If you allow the government to decide who gets licensed, or what kind of training or whatever benchmarks they so desire to permit you to own a gun, they will eventually take them all away. Period.Baloney. Your reasoning is that regulation, training requirements, and licensing are allowed, then the next step is for the government to ban it. So, have they banned driving cars yet? Have they banned the practice of law yet? Your argument is paper thin, and is just the form of fearful paranoia that the NRA has tried so hard to inculcate. Congratulations for drinking to Kool-aid. I assume that you are aware that the police cannot be everywhere all of the time. And that criminals try not to make a habit of commiting a crime under the watchful eye of the law. Perhaps you have also heard the rumors that the bad guys DON’T OBEY THE LAW! That argument again. “Criminals don’t obey the law, so they won’t observe gun control laws.” A flat, flaccid argument, so easily punctured that it’s not even funny. That logic says that we should not have any laws regarding anything–after all, criminals don’t follow them, right? No criminals commit crimes under the “watchful eye of the law”; should we do away with all laws, or even just preventative laws?

    Here’s the real test of your logic: do you lock your doors at night, or when you leave your house? Because you are well aware that a criminal who wants to can easily break the window or get past the lock, if he so desires, and they won’t do it “under the watchful eye of the law” or under your watchful eye, either. So what use are the locks? Your argument is that such prevention is useless because criminals won’t respect it. By your logic, you should leave your doors and windows unlocked, because they do no good. But I’ll bet you whatever you like that you have locks and you use them. That’s what gun control is: locks on the door.

    Your argument that crime will happen anyway is facetious at best, and has been made time and time before. The answer is obvious: nothing will stop all criminals, nothing will stop all crime. But we have safeguards anyway, and for good reason: to prevent as much crime as is possible, to make crime as expensive and difficult as possible.

    Too bad you want to enable the criminals–or do you?

    P.S. — Oh, and by the way, thank you for so thoroughly proving correct the comment I made immediately previous to yours. Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect example of what I was talking about. Makes me think that you were just being ironic, to see how I’d react if exactly the kind of weak-minded argument I predicted came along and presented itself.

  50. Bill
    September 25th, 2007 at 03:08 | #50

    Correct me if I’m wrong – but it seems to me that you made the assumption throughout this post that criminals usually buy guns the legal way… I think this is a major weakness in your argument.
    For the sake of argument, let’s assume this nation did fall under the control of a dictator or some totalitarian regime, that did start restricting our communication, transportation, etc. and eventually began confiscating guns. Assuming (though this is nearly impossible) that all guns and ammunition were tagged, tracked, and confiscated, and that the government was able to get hold of all our guns… Then, assuming that most of us don’t care because, as you say, people with handguns can’t start a revolution, so that part of the issue is irrelevant… Do you believe that criminals are not going to be able to get their hands on any guns? To believe that the government will be able to confiscate/ track all guns is ridiculous, this would involve huge expenditures and time. Then, all firearms would be in the possession of… not those who obey the laws (our guns are confiscated) but those who disobey the laws. Although I doubt this crazy scenario will happen any time soon, if it did you must see that criminals would still be able to get guns (yes, it would be harder…) and those of us law-abiding citizens would be defenseless.

    You can make it as hard as you like, but criminals aren’t the ones obeying gun control laws. They have ways around restrictions (ping around a bit on the www and find for yourself the average time criminals give after being released from prison before they can expect to be able to acquire an unregistered gun again – it is a matter of days.)And even if it did ever go all the way to a gun BAN, law-abiding citizens will be just that much more helpless.

  51. Luis
    September 25th, 2007 at 08:13 | #51

    Correct me if I’m wrong – but it seems to me that you made the assumption throughout this post that criminals usually buy guns the legal way…

    Nope. Never said that, nor assumed it, nor did I imply it. But a large number of criminals do exactly that–which is why, as I noted, that 47,000 gun purchases were stopped in four years in just four states, where ex-felons or wanted criminals were caught trying to buy guns “the legal way.” That’s not an assumption, that’s a solid fact.

    This does not automatically mean that they “usually” buy guns this way, though for all I know it very well might be. Neither you, I presume, nor I know exactly how common or uncommon black-market gun dealers are. But I would really be surprised if they outnumbered the legal dealers, even as outlets for criminals to buy from.

    I think this is a major weakness in your argument. For the sake of argument, let’s assume this nation did fall under the control of a dictator or some totalitarian regime…[which] began confiscating guns.… Do you believe that criminals are not going to be able to get their hands on any guns? …and those of us law-abiding citizens would be defenseless.

    Actually, this is a major weakness in your argument, and I thank you for highlighting it to me–somehow I never saw it before.

    Here’s your weakness: you claim that a gun ban could never work… and then you claim that a dictator could effectively ban our guns!!!

    You can’t have it both ways! Either gun bans are effective and a gun ban would stop criminals cold… or gun bans aren’t effective, and therefore a dictator trying to confiscate our guns could never actually do so.

    So, which is it?

Comments are closed.